Garnett, KS: One Man’s Longing to “Help the Kids”

One of our residents, Don was a charter member of the Hospital Dads program at Mirza Shrine based in Pittsburg in 1985. With the Shrine’s membership and their fund raising ability, the organization followed suit to similar programs started by Shrine’s across the country, aimed at offering free transportation and travel for families of children undergoing treatments at Shrine Facilities. Shrine Hospitals for Children is a network of 22 facilities across the country which offer burn and other treatments for children in a family-centered environment, regardless of the patient families ability to pay. Don got to meet one of the many kids his initial efforts has helped. Shyla a local girl was only three months old when she was burned as her mother was starting a wood stove in their home. With facial scarring from the accident Shyla needed many procedures, she struggled with those with being so little, so it was decided to wait until she was older to proceed with more of them. Shyla now 16 was returning from a procedure at a Shriner’s Hospital in Cincinnati, OH., when “Hospital Dads” dropped her by Parkview Heights to meet Don. Shyla’s mother explained that it has been a great experience for their family. “For this trip we thought it was a 3 day trip. They did the procedure and they had to do a dressing change in five to seven days so they changed our flight for us, let us stay there in a room for the whole week, helped us with the food, everything was taken care of.” They made us feel very welcome, there was always someone there asking if we needed anything.” Shriner’s didn’t always fly their patients to their destination, they would always drive them wherever they needed to go, but if they are able to fly, it’s nice to have that option today. It was a great day for Don to see what his efforts are continuing to do for many kids and their families. Don was very humble and stated “We wanted to help the kids.”.

 Mission – Dignity in Life

Submitted By:

Carol Barnes, People Development Coordinator

Parkview Heights, Garnett KS