Shriner’s telethon, please help the children

Local News

An important resource in the Erie Community is asking for help.  The Shriner’s Hospital for Children telethon starts at 5pm and runs until 8pm.  This is the fourth year that WJET has teamed up with Shriner’s to host this event.

It was 1927 when the Shriner’s in Erie opened the Zem Zem Hospital for Crippled Children, primarily to care for kids with polio.  When you walk through the doors at Shriner’s Hospital for Children today, it’s a much different experience.  Traci Teudhope takes a look at how the building and the mission have evolved over the last 90 years.

Our own Raychel Vendetti, Cancer Survivor, tells us, “I love how bright it is; how welcoming it is.”  It’s safe to say the same ray of sunshine inspired a local group of Shriners to create the Sunshine Valley Camp back in 1924.  And, that camp continues to run through the Shriner’s Hospital for Children in Erie today.

“It makes me happy to know that I was a part of the past,” says Vendetti.  “And now, working in this industry and getting a chance to see where they are now and where they’ll be in the future…”

Raychel Vendetti was a patient at Shriner’s Hospital as a child, enduring years of surgeries and physical therapy leading up to an eventual cancer diagnosis.  Much has changed since then.  “The way hospitals were set [were] very different.  We were [in] giant wards, curtains separating each patient.  [My family] couldn’t stay overnight with me. It’s very scary being a young child in that situation.”

In her recovery, Raychel returned to Shriner’s to learn to walk with a new, prosthetic leg.  “Everybody there; they’re wonderful and a lot of nurses and physical therapy are still there.”

There’s an obvious reason for the longevity of their staff.  Greg Hall tells us, “the ‘Shrine’ has always been committed to the Erie region to fill that void in pediatric orthopedics…  people think of us for rare things like scoliosis, cerebral palsy, but we see all pediatrics, so fractures, sprains, those sorts of things as well.”

Regardless of the reason for a child’s visit, Shriner’s aims to offer hope, comfort, and healing.

Hall says it’s Shriner’s mission that has always set them apart. “It allows our physicians to have a conversation with family… what is the right plan of care for this child?  It’s not what is the right plan of care that insurance will reimburse.”

Call now or stop at the hospital on West 8th Street, just west of Frontier Park.  We’re accepting your donations right outside the front door until 8pm.  You can also phone in your donations now, and after 8pm, you can donate online.

To make a pledge, please dial 814-875-8888.  

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