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'Carleigh Claus' Does it Again

Former Patient Donates $1K in Holiday Gifts

Our patients, current and former, are always so thoughtful and quick to give back to others; especially for “kids like them” receiving care at Shriners Healthcare for Children — Florida. For many of them, that type of consideration comes from experience – having benefitted from our care themselves, and knowing what an impact a small gesture of kindness can make.

That is Carleigh’s motivation. As a former patient, she remembers what it is like to have frequent visits and follow-up appointments to our facility. When she was 8, she underwent surgery on both of her femurs, then went through intense physical therapy. Now she is able to walk, run and play without any pain. Prior to surgery, she could not be active without experiencing trips, falls and extreme discomfort. Below is a picture of Carleigh and Chief of Staff Maureen Maciel, M.D., taken the week of that pivotal procedure.

“Her experience at Shriners was amazing, and she has felt a calling to help ever since she became a patient herself,” her mother, Erin, said.

She calls it “Carleigh’s Cause.” While the holiday season makes us think of her more like “Carleigh Claus” – as this is the third year in a row she has made a large toy donation. Despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, she still raised and purchased $1,000 in gifts for our facility and families. You can see a picture below of Carleigh masked up and selling her crafts at an outside community fair. She always brings along a banner to hang at her table, which depicts her medical journey at Shriners Healthcare and one of her favorite quotes: “Sometimes the most difficult roads lead to the most beautiful destinations.” It serves as a reminder to her and her family of how far she has come.

“This is something she is proud to do, to show her gratitude for the care she received,” Erin said. “Care that transformed her life.”

Her goal? Simply to spread joy to other patient families this holiday season, and she surely did that. Thank you “Carleigh Claus" for entrusting us with your care, and for making the season a little brighter for all of us!

Carleigh at home with donations

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