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Forty-three Years of Caring for Children in Cyprus

group portrait of seated medical staff in Cyprus, Greece outreach clinic

Nurses and physical therapists sit for training in post operative spinal fusion care.

On March 2-9, 2024, a Shriners Children’s outreach team conducted a medical clinic on the island of Cyprus. For more than four decades, Shriners Children's has collaborated with the George and Thelma Paraskevaidis Foundation to send physicians and clinical professionals to Cyprus, an island country located in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, to conduct an annual outreach clinic for the local and neighboring children there. During their visits, the team examines and provides medical care to both new and returning patients, offering specialized services and high-level care to children with orthopedic conditions and diseases of the limbs and spine. Over the years, more than 16,000 Cypriot children have received care at the outreach clinics, and more than 4,000 have traveled to the United States for further examinations, surgeries and hospitalization.

Costas Paraskevaides, executive director of the the George and Thelma Paraskevaidis Foundation, is a member of Emirat Shriners of Wiesbaden, Germany, and founder of the Alasia Shrine Club, the largest Shrine Club in Germany.

The outreach group for this year’s clinic included Jerry Gantt, chairman, Board of Trustees; John McCabe, executive vice president; and Laura Kozloski, executive director of international strategy. Also included were skilled surgeons and medical staff from the Philadelphia, Greenville and New England Shriners Children’s locations and the International Strategy Group.

All three tenets of Shriners Children’s mission – high-quality care, education and research – were a part of this trip. The outreach activities resulted in treatment of 149 children, performance of seven high-level surgeries, fitting of orthotic and/or prosthetic devices for 41 children and collection of 70 specimens for genomics research efforts. The team also conducted a two-hour educational session with 17 participants, including three medical students, on nurse and physical therapy post-surgical care for spinal fusion patients.

To be able to receive care close to home means so much to the families seen at the outreach clinic. Parents, caregivers, patients, volunteers and government officials expressed their gratitude to the Shriners Children’s team for traveling across the globe to provide world-class specialty care.

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