As a left leg amputee since birth, Rachel received so much more than just medical care during her years as a patient at Shriners Children’s.
“I never had to worry about my goals being put on hold for any reason,” said Rachel. “I received the best care from my dream team of doctors, and I was also introduced to my dream career of working in orthotics and prosthetics.”
Rachel began receiving care at Shriners Children’s Erie when she was 11 years old. After receiving care at another local hospital, she appreciated the support and encouragement offered at Shriners Children’s. “It’s such a positive environment,” she said. “The staff made me feel comfortable and that I was in good hands.”
The care she received allowed her to shine as a majorette for her high school swing band. Rachel developed an interest in twirling a baton when she was 3 years old, according to her mom, Barbara. She started taking lessons in fifth grade through an afterschool program offered at her school. After three years, she moved into majorette training classes in her hometown of Wickliffe, Ohio. Rachel’s energy and spirit were evident when she performed.
Growing up with a limb loss was never easy, but when I first walked through the doors of Shriners Children's, my life changed for the better.
Since graduating high school in 2020, Rachel has been attending Cleveland State University with a major in health sciences. She credits Shriners Children’s with giving her the confidence to succeed as an adult. “Shriners Children’s has given me newfound confidence going into the real world,” she said.
As a shy adolescent, Rachel wasn’t comfortable being herself around anyone. “While a patient at Shriners Children’s Erie, I was able to step out of my comfort zone,” she said. “I owe the majority of success I’ve had up to this point to the amazing people at Shriners Children’s, and I know the knowledge that I’ve been able to take away will benefit me going forward.”
In the future, she hopes to attend the University of Pittsburgh to earn a master’s degree in orthotics and prosthetics so she can help kids in the same way that others helped her.
Rachel is excited to be an early member of the Patient Alumni Network. The Patient Alumni Network was formed in 2022 as part of Shriners Children’s 100th Anniversary Celebration. The goal of this new network is to connect former patients with each other and provide opportunities for them to share their stories and accomplishments with other patients, Shriners, donors and the public.