Hometown: San Mateo
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.