Sept. 26 is a special date to over a million children who have suffered from orthopaedic issues, spinal chord injuries, burns, and cleft lip and pallet.
It was on that day in 1872 that the Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine had their first meeting in New York.
Today, of course, they are simply called Shriners.
How did an organization formed initially only for fun come to benefit over a million children?
In 1922, with polio epidemics sweeping the country, the Shriners inaugurated the first pediatric orthopaedic hospital in Shreveport, La.
As the Shrine grew, so did the world's most remarkable pediatric hospital system. Today, 140 years after the birth of the Shriners and 90 years after the creation of their first hospital, Shriners Hospitals for Children now include 22 health care facilities across North America, including Montreal and Mexico City.
Today, Shriners Hospitals for Children treat orthopedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palate.
All care and services are provided regardless of the patients' ability to pay. To receive treatment, a child must be under 18 and there must be a reasonable expectation the child will benefit from available services.
Pennsylvanians are fortunate to have two Shriners Hospitals facilities, located in Erie and Philadelphia. If you know a child in need of treatment, call 800-237-5055.
For more information, visit www.shrinershospitalsforchildren.org.
James J. Knights, Regional Director Imperial Public Relations Committee
Shriners Hospitals for Children, Evans City