Emily and Hudson Elmore are just two of the Richmond-area children assisted by the Shriners Hospitals for Children, which celebrates its 85th year of providing free, specialized care to children next summer. Founded in 1878, Shriners Hospitals comprise 22 facilities in North America. Each hospital has a specialty area; those include orthopaedic injuries, severe burns, neuro-musculoskeletal diseases, spinal-cord injuries, clubfoot and brittle-bone diseases. "Their care was superlative," says Angela Elmore, mother of Hudson, 14, and Emily, 12. Elmore explains that her children were born with osteogenesis imperfecta, a brittle-bone disease. The hospitals treated the children, then they provided preventive care to strengthen their bones and help prevent deterioration. Currently, the two middle-school students are healthy and even able to compete in NOVA Aquatics.
Richmond's ACCA Shriners, the local chapter of the national fraternity based on Masonic principles, supports about 483 children. The chapter covers patients' travel as well as treatment costs. "It is remarkable," Elmore says. For more information, visit shrinershq.org.