Meet Our Patients


Meet Courtney

Headshot of Courtney

Hometown: San Mateo
Condition: Scoliosis

Courtney dreamed of becoming a model when she was a girl. At the age of 10, she developed scoliosis. Her doctor said to wait and watch.


Meet Dulce

Picture of Dulce

Condition: Severe Burn Injuries

Dulce Contreras was 16 years old the first time she came to Shriners Hospitals for Children — Northern California. It was December 2001. Third degree burns covered her face and hands. The life-threatening injuries were caused by a kitchen gas leak that triggered an explosion and fire that destroyed her family’s home in Nogales, Mexico.


Meet Ella

Ella wearing a cape with her name

Vanessa Errecarte is the daughter of a Shriner. But it wasn’t until her own daughter was diagnosed with scoliosis that the Davis mother witnessed first-hand the excellence of her father’s lifelong cause.

“My dad will be the first to say that he never hoped anyone in his family would need care at Shriners, but now that we do, it’s been wonderful to see the amazing place that is a result of the philanthropy undertaken by Shriners,” said Vanessa.


Meet Emery

Emery posing with her doctor and some dolls

Condition: Scoliosis

Nine-year-old Emery was all smiles at her recent appointment with Eric Klineberg, M.D. Diagnosed with scoliosis when she was in first grade, Emery’s pediatrician referred her to our Shriners Hospital for care.


Meet Emma

Emma playing piano

Condition: Traumatic Injury

Emma was riding with her grandpa through sand dunes near Pismo Beach when their vehicle was run over by a Hummer. Emma’s father, Matt, witnessed the collision and was the first responder on the scene.

“I thought I had watched my daughter die,” said Matt, recalling the horrific accident that brought the joy of a spring vacation to an abrupt end.


Meet Eric

Eric holding a basketball

Condition: Congenital Hip Dysplasia

As captain of the Sacramento Rollin Kings, Eric Harris shouts encouraging words as he dribbles, passes and spins his way on the basketball court. His confidence is contagious, as both his teammates’ efforts and the scoreboard suggest. Clearly, Harris is comfortable in his chair on the court.


Meet Giovanni

Giovanni riding a tricycle

Age: 3

Shortly after Giovanni was born at a Southern California hospital, nurses noticed he had a rare abnormality. They fed him and his stomach swelled up and remained distended.  Further examination revealed that Giovanni had an anorectal malformation that occurs in roughly 1 in 5,000 births. His colon did not develop in the right location, making it impossible for Giovanni to have a normal bowel movement.


Meet Hannah and Katie

Girl playing the piano

Many children view piano lessons as a burden, but two sisters at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Northern California have seized their opportunity to master the difficult instrument despite physical challenges.

Hannah and Katie Bernard were each born with a misshapen leg and missing fingers, but adopted from their native China by a family that knew love and the best medical care could lead to normal, fruitful lives.


Meet Kaitlyn

Picture of Kaitlyn

Editor’s Note: One week before her 12th birthday, Kaitlyn was diagnosed with severe scoliosis. Now a 21-year-old college student, Kaitlyn shares her story and tells how the care provided by Shriners Hospitals for Children transformed her life.

By Kaitlyn Hawkins

I was always the girl who loved to try new things. I spent my weekends roller skating, playing soccer, climbing trees, and so much more. I even tried out for cheerleading!


Meet Leslie

Picture of Leslie holding a dog

Condition: Ano-Rectal Disorder

Leslie was born with a rare ano-rectal disorder that wasn’t visible to others but made her feel different. She needed a colostomy operation at birth.


Meet Louie

Louie posing with a basketball

Condition: Orthopaedic Conditions

Louie was born with orthopaedic conditions that challenged his ability to stand straight and tall and grip small objects. When he was 2 ½ years old, his doctor referred him to the orthopaedic team a Shriners Hospitals for Children – Northern California.


Meet Martin

Martin using a walker with his doctors following behind

Condition: Osteogenesis Imperfecta

Martin arrived at Shiners Hospitals for Children — Northern California, in the summer of 2017 with a wheelchair and a diagnosis — osteogenesis imperfecta. Commonly referred to as a brittle bone disease, osteogenesis imperfecta (OI) is a congenital disorder characterized by defective connective tissue and brittle bones that are prone to fracture. Treatment includes surgery to repair broken bones.


Meet Michael

Michael setting up a putt on the golf course

Condition: Hemihyperplasia

Michael swung his way into a top spot on his varsity high school golf team last year, the only freshman who earned the ability to travel to away tournaments. That year he also tried out for the Elk Grove High School freshman football team and landed as one of the kickers. This year he wants to play linebacker, fullback and kicker on the junior varsity team.


Meet Nhi

Nhi at work as a nurse

Condition: Severe Burn Injuries

Can you share a little bit about your history as a patient at Shriners?

I was treated for burn care at the Shriners in Boston for two years before my family moved to Sacramento. Shriners Hospitals for Children — Northern California was the most stable part of my life as a child. We moved a lot, but I was a regular patient for 11 years.


Meet Sarah

Sarah speaking at an event

Condition: Hand Difference

Sarah Tuberty was born with a left palm that was a third of the size of her right one and was missing all five fingers. She became a patient of Shriners Hospitals for Children — Northern California when she was 1, and underwent two reconstructive surgeries.


Meet Tal

Picture of Tal giving a presentation

Condition: Arm Difference

Born with a right arm that did not extend below the elbow, Tal Oppenheimer faced a childhood of frequent medical appointments. But she reflects on all those visits to Shriners Hospital for Children — Northern California fondly and with much appreciation.


Meet Team Wong

Picture of the Wong Family

Condition: Spina Bifida, Cerebral Palsy, Cleft Lip

Each has a complex medical condition that has required specialized care, including spina bifida, absence of limbs, cerebral palsy and cleft lip.

All have been treated at the Shriners Hospital in Sacramento, where they have benefited from the team approach to care. Orthopaedic surgeons, physical medicine and rehabilitation specialists, and orthotic and prosthetic specialists are among the many professionals who have been involved in the Wong children’s care.