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Pediatric Specialty Care in Florida

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About Shriners Children's Florida

Located on the campus of the University of South Florida in Tampa, our experienced care team brings hope and healing. We're driven to make lives richer, easier and less complex for children and families in Florida and beyond.

Specialty Care Provided at Florida

We Understand the Unique Medical Needs of Children

We provide vital, pioneering treatment from birth to age 18. Here, children have the opportunity to be evaluated and treated by doctors recognized as the best by their peers.

"I'm a Shriners Kid" - Patient Ambassador Program

Thinking about becoming a patient ambassador for your hospital? Thanks to the help of Tampa Shriners Hospital patient Riley, perspective ambassadors can learn all about the benefits and opportunities this program offers each Shriners Hospitals for Children® patient. For more information, contact your hospital's public relations department today.
View Transcript

Riley Desin: Hi, I'm Riley Desin. I am 16 years old from Winter Garden, Florida, and I've been a patient of Shriners Hospitals for Children, Tampa for most of my life. I am receiving care for a very rare bone growth disorder called, hereditary multiple exostoses. This causes my bones to grow bumpy instead of smooth. These bones can cause pain, form length discrepancies, and joint immobility issues. There are many treatment options available, and I receive excellent care from all the doctors and nurses.

A patient ambassador is a positive role model for their community. They get to represent the hospital's mission: sending love to the rescue. It provides great opportunities to help supporters really understand what "love to the rescue" really means. Getting to know the men behind the mission and getting to build relationships with them is an added bonus.

As a patient ambassador, I get to represent the hospital at fundraising events, press interviews, and media appearances. You never know what the hospital staff will invite you to, but it will always be an adventure. My favorite patient ambassador experience was when I got to go to the Coke Zero 400. I got to spend the weekend with David Ragan and met many other drivers. I also got to spend time with the Imperial officers and their ladies. David took me to qualifying, the drivers' meeting, and driver introductions. David is an amazing partner for Shriners Hospitals.

Virtual Meet & Greet: NASCAR drive, Jesse Little, and Shriners Kid, Theodore

NASCAR Xfinity Series driver, Jesse Little, hosts a virtual "meet & greet" with Shriners Healthcare in Florida patient, Theodore, who loves NASCAR.
View Transcript

Speaker 1:

Recording here. How you doing today, Theodore?

Theodore:

Good.

Speaker 1:

Good. Is that you there? Mom too.

Mom:

Yes.

Speaker 1:

Hi there. Nice to meet you. I appreciate you guys doing this. This is fun for me, buddy, I hope it's fun for you. If you don't mind, I'm curious, tell me a little bit about yourself. How old are you?

Theodore:

I'm eight years old.

Speaker 1:

Eight years old. Awesome. And how long have you been with the Shriners Care?

Theodore:

Four years.

Speaker 1:

Four years? Very cool. Very cool. So eight years old, is that a third grade? Second grade?

Theodore:

Third.

Speaker 1:

Third grade. Okay.

Theodore:

I'm going into fourth grade.

Speaker 1:

Going into fourth grade. How has your last couple of months, where they different? Were they fun? Did you like it or do you rather be in school.

Theodore:

I like it without going to school.

Speaker 1:

Without going to school? Yeah.

Theodore:

I want to be free.

Speaker 1:

Awesome man. Good deal. It was different for me too, so I'm actually in college and all of my stuff got moved to online too. And so I had to get used to it real quick and I'm the opposite. I'd rather go and learn in a classroom, but I guess it's part of it. So, but yeah, man, a little bit about myself. I'm obviously a race car driver. I've been in NASCAR the last 10 years at the national level. And I was seven years old when I first started driving. So I began in go-carts and quarter midgets and then the older I got the bigger and heavier and faster cars I got into. Got into a late model when I was about 13 years old, and that's kind of the first big full-size car. And then from there kind of did a couple of years in each one of those. If you're familiar with the truck series, I ran in the truck series for the first time in 2015.

Theodore:

Yeah I saw pictures of the trucks.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. So I've been truck racing the last five years. And then this year I made my first start in the Xfinity series full-time so I'm excited. It's been fun so far, and my first full-time year being in a big car. The Xfinity cars go a little faster than trucks, but between you and I, I like driving the trucks more. So don't tell anybody. How long have you been a race fan for?

Theodore:

Three years.

Speaker 1:

Do you have a favorite driver by chance?

Theodore:

I like most of them the same.

Speaker 1:

Yeah most of them the same. Very cool. Have you guys ever been out to the races the last couple of years?

Theodore:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Oh, very cool. What races did you go to?

Theodore:

The 400.

Speaker 1:

Oh Daytona. Awesome. I got to race there. I got to race there for the first time ever this past year. It's fast. We're going fast, that's for sure. We, let's see, we go almost 200 miles an hour there.

And when you wreck, it hurts really bad, but we don't like to wreck. Well, very cool, man. Well look, I wish we could really have you out to the racetrack this weekend, but I guess this is the closest thing to it. So we're certainly, we're going to make the most of it. How about that?

I think we're, I think we're going to try to do a Facebook live call on Saturday again too right before the race and we can go over some questions. I'll have some friends and fans probably ask us plenty of questions and then I'll refer them all to you. You can be my honorary crew chief this weekend and tell everyone what pit stops are going to come down pit road on and how many tires we're going to get, how about that? I'm just going to say, you know everything, ask Theodore. Are you a fan of cars? Do you got a couple of favorite cars you like, being a race fan? What are those?

Theodore:

My two favorites are probably Camaro and a Chevrolet.

Speaker 1:

Oh, very cool. You know, that's what the race car is. I drive a Chevrolet Camaro. It's the ZLE ILE. That's a sharp, it's a sharp car. It's fast. We'll have to get you out to a race in person here soon and you can see it up close. I'm a little biased but I think the Camaro's are the best looking ones. I'm with you. I'm with you. And those are my favorite too.

Theodore:

There was this race car driver. He crashed really bad in the race that we saw and he gave me the top of his car.

Speaker 1:

Oh really? Who was that?

Theodore:

David Ragan. He retired.

Speaker 1:

Oh yeah, very cool. Very cool. I know David. That's awesome. He's a Shriner himself. Did you know that?

Theodore:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. I've actually spoke with David quite a bit beginning my journey cause I want to hopefully one day be a Shriner, and I started that kind of journey and path, and so that's awesome that he did that. I'll have to give you a peace of mine but hopefully it'll be from victory lane and not from a wreck.

Theodore:

Yeah, why do you want to become a Shriner?

Speaker 1:

That's a great question. I have a younger cousin who was born with cerebral palsy and April's one of my biggest fans and been definitely by my side, number one fan as long as I've been racing and the Shriners hospital helped her out a lot. Now I'm at the age where I can begin that journey myself. And I'm at a point in my life where I think it's a good time for me. So I'm glad you asked. That's kind of what I want to do. To be honest, I got a really cool thing with racing that I'm able to do, and I'd love to use it to my advantage and help a lot of people and be able to entertain people at the same time. So I'm glad you asked. How's it been with you so far with their care? Do you like them? Do you see those guys often? Do you go back to the hospital any?

Theodore:

Yeah. I get lots of X-rays there and I got one surgery on my hand there.

Speaker 1:

One surgery, what was that for?

Theodore:

[inaudible 00:06:37] These two fingers.

Speaker 1:

Did it hurt?

Theodore:

At the end. He didn't put much medicine in, so it hurt pretty bad.

Speaker 1:

Good thing you're a tough guy.

Theodore:

I got it because, wasn't it this finger?

Mom:

Yeah.

Theodore:

[inaudible 00:06:54] right here.

Speaker 1:

So is that where they cut, right there?

Theodore:

They cut it on the front actually.

Speaker 1:

On the front, oh.

Theodore:

And also they cut the back of my hand open.

Speaker 1:

Man I tell you, you're braver than I am. I don't even like going to the doctors.

Theodore:

Same with me. I hate surgeries too.

Speaker 1:

Do you? How many have you had, do you know? Do you keep count?

Theodore:

That was my first one.

Speaker 1:

Oh that was the first one?

Theodore:

And after that [inaudible 00:07:29]

Speaker 1:

That's funny, man. Well, at least it went good, right? At least it went good. That's very cool. Well, I think for this weekend, what we're going to do is being that we can't have you out on the racetrack and with us, what ideally we would love to do is we'd be going down here and racing and we'd be able to invite you guys out to the track and you and your family could be our honorary guests. And we'd have you sit up on the pit box for the race, but hopefully that'll happen really soon, with fans starting to be able to come back. So instead we'll have you as our honorary guests and when we do our Facebook live on Saturday you can be right there along with me and we'll be talking to the fans and you can tell your story and you and I can kind of go back and forth and talk a little bit. And then if you have anything you want me to talk about, I'll certainly jump on and do it. But you'll kind of be my driving coach this weekend. I'll ask you some pointers and I'll ask for your help along the way, if you don't mind.

Theodore:

When you're racing, when you're not racing, what do you like to do for fun?

Speaker 1:

When I'm not racing I'm usually pretty busy with school. I'm finishing my last year in college and so that's keeping me pretty busy when I'm not driving. But other than that, I love to go outdoors. I love hiking and fishing, camping. And if it's a rainy day and I can't do that, I'm going to work on my cars. I'm going to get my hands dirty and turn some wrenches.

Theodore:

Speaking of fishing, the day before the race, I go and fish on the beach.

Speaker 1:

Oh, are you?

Theodore:

Yeah

Speaker 1:

Awesome. Awesome. Are you, do you like fishing? Are you big fishermen?

Theodore:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Very cool. Me too.

Theodore:

This will be the first time on the beach.

Speaker 1:

Are you going to just do it from the shore?

Theodore:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Very cool. That'll be fun. I wish I could join you, can I come? I think my plane lands at like 5:30 so maybe you could come pick me up and I can join you. I'll be jealous. I'll be having to watch film and video and you'll be getting a fish, but that's okay. I went fishing when we were in Homestead last year, but I got to go on a deep sea tournament, deep sea tour. So that was cool.

Theodore:

It's going to be my first time fish on the beach, you know why I'm so excited?

Speaker 1:

How come?

Theodore:

All the time we fish on the river, the annoying catfish keep on tweaking on our bait.

Speaker 1:

Do they eat it? Do they take it right off?

Theodore:

It's such a pain trying to pick a catfish off your hook.

Speaker 1:

You got to wear gloves. Do you wear gloves?

Theodore:

I don't take it off.

Speaker 1:

I don't like them either. When we catch them up here I usually have to put gloves on to take them off.

Theodore:

They're the most annoying fish in history.

Speaker 1:

They are. I agree, man.

Theodore:

There are no catfish in the ocean.

Speaker 1:

That's the good thing, huh? There's just sharks. You better hope you don't catch a shark. Actually, that'd be pretty cool.

Theodore:

So what I'm really good at, sand fleas are good bait. Sand fleas are like little hermit crab looking things that the shore, the beach, you could dig through the sand, the wet sand.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and find them?

Theodore:

That you could catch fish. I don't think he would catch a shark with a sand flea. They're so small

Speaker 1:

Yeah, they are tiny aren't they. How far away do you guys live from the racetrack?

Theodore:

20 minutes.

Speaker 1:

Oh, cool. You can almost hear him, huh? Very cool. Do you have any brothers and sisters, Theodore?

Theodore:

Yeah. They're outside.

Speaker 1:

Are they? That's cool. Are you the youngest?

Theodore:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Very nice.

Theodore:

I have one brother and one sister. My brother's 12 and my sister's 14.

Speaker 1:

Very cool. I have a younger sister and we were arch enemies, but now we're best friends when we were growing up. I love her to death and she's the best thing ever. At times she might be a little annoying, but they're the best aren't they?

Theodore:

My mom and dad's friend will take us fishing to the beach and if we catch a nice fish with the sand fleas, then we could give it to him and we will see if he could catch a shark.

Speaker 1:

There you go. You could have dinner that night, huh?

Theodore:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Very cool, man. Well, I really appreciate this. I'm super excited to finally got to meet you and I'm very glad we got to talk. I'm looking forward to this weekend. I really wish we could have you out to the track, but we're going to make the most out of it, and I wish you the best. Hopefully you'll be our good luck charm this weekend and we'll get to have some good finishes.

Theodore:

Good luck.

Speaker 1:

Thank you buddy. I appreciate it. And again, I look forward to talking to you. Thank you so much for doing this. Very nice to meet you guys. You're a huge inspiration to me, Theodore, and you guys. I really appreciate it. So thank you. And we'll see you very soon.

Mom:

Awesome.

Theodore:

Okay. Bye.

Mom:

Good luck.

Speaker 1:

See you buddy. Go catch some good fish.

Theodore:

Thank you.

Speaker 1:

See you buddy.

Theodore:

Bye.

Speaker 1:

Bye.


Bentley's Steps

Patient ambassador Bentley makes strides for Shriners Hospitals for Children as he takes first steps across the stage at a local fundraiser.
View Transcript

Linda: Hi everybody. My name is Linda and this is Bentley. Bentley is eight years old. He was born at 29 weeks. His first two months of his life, he lived in the NICU. For the first year of his life, Bentley did not hit milestones. He could not hold his bottle. He could not roll over. He could not sit up. We kept asking why, and doctors after doctors kept telling us, "He is premature He will catch up. Do no worry about a single thing. Nothing is wrong." We put him in therapy to try to give him that little extra help, and we still saw nothing, no improvements. So my mom instincts told me to find answers. I took him to neurologists. Right before Bentley turned two, they diagnosed him with cerebral palsy. All those doctors who kept telling me "Your son is fine. There is nothing wrong. He is completely normal." They were all wrong. We found Shriners right after that diagnosis.

Shriners has completely changed his life. They complete changed our life. They have helped him physically. They have helped him mentally. When he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, our neurologist told us, "Your son is never going to be normal." He is not going to be able to stand up. He is going to be able to walk.

Bentley: Proved that wrong!

Linda: They told us he would never be able to hold a conversation like a normal person. This pickle throws stats for every sport. His memory? Oh my God, I can not even. So those doctors who gave us no hope? Shriners, they gave us hope. They taught us there is a will, there is a way, and to not give up. He is trying to walk. He is learning how to walk. That would not be possible without Shriners, and Shriners would not be who they are without all of the amazing people like all of you and all of the amazing donors who do what they do to raise money for the most amazing organization that is out there. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts, because we are forever grateful for you. And just like Shriners is our family and our home away from home, you guys are all our family as well.

Speaker 3: Thank you [inaudible 00:03:56] Bentley.

Speaker 4: Come on, buddy. You got it.


1:36
"I'm a Shriners Kid" - Patient Ambassador Program
13:7
Virtual Meet & Greet: NASCAR drive, Jesse Little, and Shriners Kid, Theodore
4:29
Bentley's Steps

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