After Zachary was born with cleft lip and palate, Scott and I were faced with getting Zachary the best medical care we could. We had called the only doctor that specialized in Cleft lip and Palate that was in Las Vegas. Getting off the phone with this doctor’s office, I was completely in tears. There was no way I was going to work with this office for years.
I talked with father who suggested Shriners Hospital for Children in Los Angeles. My father, who was a Family Court Judge, had referred a number of children to Shriner’s for medical care. We talked with my husband’s family who indicated that they had a family member that was a Shriner, we reached out to them and asked for their assistance in getting us in to Shriners.
From the very beginning, I was completely overwhelmed but it was in a good way. The outpouring of love, resources, kindness and attention we received for Zachary was incredible. The doctors at Shriners are the top in their medical fields. Zachary was first seen by Dr. Susan Kay, who in all honesty is heaven sent. She trained doctors on the West Coast about techniques associated with cleft lip and palate. His doctor now, Dr. McGee, is the son of the man who started Smile Train. His urologist, Dr. Andrew Freedman, is the head of pediatric urology at Cedars-Sinai. Their doctors are absolutely incredible. In addition to their education and skill, each doctor has treated Zachary with the utmost love, respect and care.
The Shriner’s motto is that “No man stands so tall as when he stoops to help a child”. This is evident in every aspect of the Shriners Hospital.
The second lesson I learned from my son was through the Shriners. Their service to children is amazing. They give back not just to the community around the hospital, but in other countries as well. When was the last time we served someone else? Often times I am so wrapped up in what’s going on with Zachary, my daughter, my family, work, that I don’t reflect on how I can help others.
I think Ghandi said it best – “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
If I could, I would thank each and every individual who has worked to make Shriners so incredible. I would thank every Shrine who takes time out of their days to transport patients, their wives who make pillow cases or blankets for the patients, donors who contribute so that medical care can be provided at no cost to the families, every staff member who works to provide loving and quick service, every nurse who has stayed up countless hours with Zachary and me to ease his pain and each and every doctor who diligently went to school and trained to provide the best medical care possible to kids. Thank you. Their service does not go unnoticed.