Hope for Kids and Families
Imagine. Achieve. Believe. That’s what the children who are cared for by Shriners Hospitals for Children – Shreveport do every day: imagining how their life will be and achieving what some thought impossible. On May 11, the Imagine Achieve Believe Gala benefitting Shriners Shreveport will raise money so that more children’s dreams can become a reality.
Beginning at 7 p.m. at the Eldorado Resort & Casino, the event includes live entertainment by Jazziana and a seafood buffet sponsored by the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board. Being recognized for their significant impact to Shriners Shreveport will be local business High Lifter Products and individual, Paul Pratt.
Pratt knows Shriners Shreveport well. “I have a personal experience here at Shriners. We’ve stayed the night at Shriners several times.”
Pratt’s son, Noah, has had several surgeries at the Shriners Shreveport Hospital and in St. Louis.
“Shriners has been here in the community for so many years, and it’s a rock, not only for Shreveport but for the rest of the world,” Pratt said.
Pratt and fellow oil and gas professionals established the Haynesville Shale Bass Tournament in 2010 to benefit Shriners. The funds raised to date total more than $160,000 and have funded numerous pieces of medical equipment.
Scott Smith can identify with his fellow honoree’s feelings about Shriners. He, too, is a Shriners patient parent.
“Shriners made it easy and simple for us,” said Smith.
Owner of High Lifter Products in Shreveport, Smith and Applebee’s District Manager Scott McDaniels started an annual charity ride benefitting Shriners Shreveport in 2008.
“People call us all year long asking when is the Shriners ride,” said Smith. “People look forward to this event, and many who attend don’t even ride. They just come for the cause.”
Since they began, more than $116,000 has been raised along with truckloads of supplies for Child Life.
Parents Kayce and Alan Smith say that Shriners staff have made a world of difference in their lives. Their son, Hayes, was born without his right leg.
“We didn’t know what to do, and someone suggested Shriners. They know what they are doing here.” Smith says Hayes relates specifically with his prosthetist at Shriners, Jillian Elwart.
Elwart is also a former patient who traveled from Little Rock for her care for many years as an amputee. The featured speaker of the gala, Elwart has competed alongside Team USA in para-canoe and para-kayak sprinting since 2015. She is on course to be an Olympic hopeful for 2020.
“Being an amputee, kayaking is a great way to get me active and to completely take my disability out of the scenario. On the water I am free to move as I wish,” she said.
She has placed at prestigious competitions around the world. Nationals in Oklahoma City produced two golds, a silver and three bronzes; at Worlds in Portugal, she placed fifth in one event and a semis berth in another.
“I did the Pan American Games in Nova Scotia in September,” she said. “In women’s para 200 I got fourth place. The first three places were taken by Olympians, so I was very pleased.”
“I love being able to be a role model for my pediatric patients so they know they can overcome any obstacle in their way.”
The Shreveport Shriners Hospital was the world’s first Shriners Hospital, opening in 1922 at 3100 Samford Avenue. Over nearly 100 years, the hospital has treated over 100,000 children.
“We cared for 18,000 patients in 2018, and our surgeries increased over 25 percent,” said Kim Green, hospital administrator. “Shriners has a long legacy in Shreveport, and our goal is to continue to help children regardless of a family’s ability to pay.”
Since Shriners Hospital began, it has always provided specialized care for children. Services have evolved to increase and enhance care for children with orthopedic issues related to cerebral palsy, scoliosis and other spine conditions, limb deficiencies, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, cleft lip and palate, fracture care and sports medicine.
For more information about Shriners Hospitals for Children – Shreveport: (318) 222-5704.