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Shriners purchase van to give free transport to local children to and from treatment facilities

shriners vanBy Rebecca Herman

In February, the Johnson County Shrine Roadrunners were able to purchase a van which allows them to transport children in the tri-cities area to Shriner hospitals; this purchase will help to save time, money, and most importantly, help children.
In 2013, the Johnson County Shriners had about 15 members, but Robert Cress knew that he needed more members if the club wanted to be able to help children with medical needs in the community.
“I got the club back together and now we have around 65 members,” said Cress.
Within the 65 members, Cress has 12 people who are drivers for this new van.
“We have to have two drivers when we drive to a Shriner Hospital,” said Cress.
The four hospitals that the Shriners take children to are in Greenville, South Carolina; Lexington, Kentucky; Cincinnati, Ohio and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
There are 22 Shriner hospitals and they focus and treat specific conditions such as Scoliosis and spinal deformities, clubfoot and related deformities, Osteogenesis Imperfecta, Spina Bifilar, Myelodysplasia, neuromuscular disorders, hand problems, hip disorders, orthopedic problems resulting from cerebral palsy, missing limbs, limb discrepancies, leg-length discrepancies, metabolic bone disorders, skeletal growth abnormalities, spinal cord injuries, and burn injuries.
Treatment at the Shriner hospitals is free for the child and if transported by a Shriner van, food and housing will be provided for the child and a family member who accompanies the child. Taking a child to the hospital is stressful and expensive for families and the Shriners want to be able to provide this service to help ease that stress. Currently, the Shriners of East Tennessee are transporting 933 children, aged newborn to 21 to the four Shiner Hospitals previously listed; 49 of these 933 are children from Johnson County.
“The Temple offered to sell us the van because of the number of children in Johnson County that are needing to be transported. We have put 7,000 miles on the van since February 1 and have taken 14 trips to Shriner Hospitals. A lot of families had trouble with transportation and this van helps us to get the families quickly and get them to their appointments,” said Dennis Henson, Shriner.
For the rest of the story, pick up a copy of this week’s Tomahawk.