A Personal Plea to Support the Scottish Rite Hospital

Discussion in 'Masonic Blogs' started by News Feeder, Aug 31, 2010.

  1. News Feeder

    News Feeder Registered User

    I am writing this note to request that you make a donation to the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children (TSRH). This is an organization I have personally been connected with since 1976.

    Our daughter, Heather, was born on December 30, 1975. She was immediately diagnosed with a birth defect called spina bifida. The words “spina bifida” are Latin for “split spine”. It is a developmental birth defect caused by vertebrae not fusing properly, resulting in an opening in the spine. This allows a portion of the spinal cord to protrude through the opening in the bones. The most common form of this birth defect is called myelomeningocele.

    In babies with myelomeningocele there is a fluid-filled sac protruding outside the spinal column containing nerve tissue that is damaged or not properly developed. As a result, there is usually some degree of paralysis and loss of sensation below the level of the spinal cord defect.

    In 90% of the cases, children with myelomeningocele develop hydrocephalus (sometimes referred to incorrectly but descriptively as “water on the brain”). This requires the surgical installation of a permanent shunt to provide a drain from inside the skull to the abdominal cavity for fluid removal.

    Heather was a classic spina bifida patient. Within 12 hours of her birth at Good Shepherd Medical Center in Longview, she had been transferred to Dallas. In less than 24 hours from birth, doctors had performed the surgery to put the spinal cord and nerve roots back inside the spine and close the opening on the back. Then when she was 8 days old a shunt was surgicaly installed.

    Heather's birth marked the beginning of an 18-year personal relationship with the TSRH in Dallas. For the first three of the 18 years we made visits at least once per month followed by 15 years of scheduled visits once every 2-3 months. There were also the occasional “special” visits for things like shunt revision surgeries. Heather really hated those special visits because every time a surgical procedure was performed on the shunt they had to shave her head. That was not fun for a young girl!!!

    During those 18 years she had surgeries for the spine closure, shunt installation, shunt revisions to allow for growth, bladder suspensions, and rerouting of leg muscles to lessen the effects of paralysis. During all those years the TSRH provided immeasurable amounts of medical care for Heather as well as psychological support and encouragement for our family.

    In 18 years, we never paid a penny for the care TSRH provided. They would not even accept donations in the early years of Heather being a patient because they knew we would face enough financial challenges as it was. Their website states:

    “TSRH provides exceptional care to thousands of Texas children every year without charge to patient families. TSRH is not a United Way agency and does not receive state or federal funding. The hospital relies solely on the generosity of individuals, organizations, foundations and corporations to continue its mission.”

    OK, if you are still reading this e-mail then I thank you very much. I know it is lengthy. However, this background gives you some insight into why I am making this request. I am trying to help a good friend of mine raise money for the TSRH. My friend is sponsoring a special fund-raising event for TSRH in October. I would like to help him make this a successful fund-raiser. If you are interested in making a tax-deductible donation (TSRH is a Section 501(c)(3) corporation) then you can make your check payable to "Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children".

    You can mail your check to either of the two addresses shown below:

    David Counts Classic benefiting TSRH
    PO Box 97
    Snyder, TX 79550


    James Ray
    1012 Chateau Court
    Longview, TX 75604

    Thank you very much and I appreciate your considering a donation to the TSRH.

    PS - FYI, Heather is now a beautiful 35-year old Christian young lady. She has been a public school teacher for 13 years and is currently teaching special education in the Hallsville ISD. I cannot imagine how different her life would be today had it not been for TSRH 35 years ago.

    James Ray

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