May 2006 I held my beautiful newly born baby boy and I saw a perfect body with the exception of his smile…there was the bilateral cleft through is upper lip extending into his nostrils and a gaping hole where the roof of his mouth should be. This was a complete shock to me. However, nothing changed the love I already had for this tiny, whaling little boy with one large dimple! After visits to other hospitals, Shriners Hospitals for Children-Chicago answered our prayers and have provided twelve years of State-of-the-Art care and LOVE not only Connor, but for our entire family.
As I held Connor in my arms following his second major surgery in the first eight months of his life, I found myself staring at the floss-like-string that was attached to his tongue and taped to the outside of his cheek to keep him from swallowing his tongue after his palate was repaired. My mind drifted away and I began thinking about how fortunate we were. Connor’s 2 1/2 year old brother, Jack, was keeping me busy at home and I was pregnant with Connor’s sister, Peyton. But, I could not have felt more comfortable, assured, and confident that Connor was lucky to be at Shriners Hospitals for Children-Chicago and he was going to have the most wonderful and healthy life that any parent could wish for.
The nurses, surgeons, and staff went above and beyond in caring for every patient and parent in the Intensive Care Unit. The nurses were diligent about making sure both the parent and the patient had anything and everything they needed to feel safe and comfortable. The nurses and staff at Shriners were not only skilled and talented professionals, but were loving and caring men and women.The entire staff treated every patient as though it was their own child and every parent as though it was their sibling. The ICU at Shriners Hospitals for Children-Chicago was unique and different.
After Connor’s surgery I laid awake with him and so many options crossed my mind as to what I could do to show my gratitude to the hospital and staff. The first Annual Shriners Scramble was conceived. My motivation was two-fold; first, to raise money for the hospital and second, to create awareness for families of children who need medical attention; the latter being the most important. The care that is provided at Shriners Hospitals for Children-Chicago is second to none. All care and treatment is provided to Shriner’s patients and their families at no cost! There are no worries about endless insurance battles and medical payments, which is a relief that no one could understand unless they have been in that position. To be able to focus all concerns, emotions, and energy on your child is best gift a parent could ask for. There have been several other surgeries over the years and I am steadfast in the knowledge that Connor continues to receive the highest quality of medical treatment and love.
Love To The Rescue is not just a phrase or logo but the foundations of the hospitals that provide care for all the children in the world that require medical care regardless of ethnicity, religion or financial concerns. Connor was born not only with a birth defect but with the opportunity to become a young boy who cares for everyone & accepts diversity with strength that in part has been provided to him with the care and assistance from Shriners Hospitals for Children. These hospitals treat more than the medical needs; they treat the patient and family’s spirit, strength, weakness, perseverance and love. The Chicago hospital has become an integral part of our family’s lives.
We host the annual Shriners Scramble as a way to give back to the Hospitals. These hospitals provide the highest quality of treatment and we must support the ongoing research and care. This golf outing is NOT about Connor but about the care that is provided to thousands of children that our patients of the twenty-one Hospitals throughout the country.
This year the Shriners Scramble will be celebrating the 12th annual golf outing benefitting Shriners Hospitals for Children-Chicago. It has been our honor to gift $174,000 over the past eleven years. This would not have been possible without the help of friends, community, corporations and family.
–Kelly & Connor