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Alyssa's Run For Team Shriners

Hospital Helped Her Beat Club Feet

Alyssa was born with bilateral club feet, and after birth her parents were told she would never walk. Shriners Children’s gave her a healthy, active life and now she's running a marathon to give back.

When she was just a few months old, Alyssa's family brought her to Shriners Children's to find another option for the infant's turned-in feet. The family saw an orthopedic surgeon and chief of staff, R.K. Ashley, M.D., and began weekly visits to Shriners Children’s Northern California, at that time located in San Francisco, for treatment of clubfoot.

“I requested my medical records a few years ago, my feet were described as ‘a very difficult case',” said Alyssa. She had surgery on her clubbed foot bones in 1983, when she was 7 months old. A note three months post surgery states: "The youngster walks with normal gait and the feet have normal range of motion...an excellent early result."

After surgery she was required to wear leg and foot braces. “I had the same shoes as Forrest Gump until age 4 or 5. Then I wore leg braces up until about the 4th grade.”

Because of the amazing treatment I received from Shriners Children's in the first years of life, I’ve been able to do all of the physical activities that I have ever wanted to.
Alyssa, California

She grew up to pursue a career in special education, and now only walks with a tiny limp “sometimes.” Alyssa, who turns 40 this month, also maintains a very active lifestyle. She has run five marathons and completed many triathlons. “I have foot pain. But everything works. I've seen several orthopedic doctors to make sure I’m not doing any damage while running.”

In October 2022 she will join runners in supporting Shriners Children's at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. “I’m celebrating my 40th birthday this year by running the Chicago marathon as a charity runner for Team Shriners, supporting Shriners Children’s.” The visit to the Windy City will include a special dinner and hospital tour of the Chicago location, where staff members will also be out on race day, representing Shriners Children's in the marathon's charity mile section.

Alyssa is happy to take these steps to give back to the healthcare system that provided the opportunity to walk. To find out how you can help support the runners raising funds for our pediatric care, visit runforshriners.org.

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