People Who Inspire: Shriners Shine

Using only donated funds, international organization saves children’s lives

By Keith Chaisson

This worldwide organization is a fraternity based on fun, fellowship and the Masonic principles of brotherly love, relief and truth.

While they like to have fun with their drum and bugle corps, clown unit, dune buggy and motorcycle brigades, when it comes to children, these folks are serious!  In 1922, they opened the very first Shriners Hospitals for Children in Shreveport, Louisiana to focus exclusively on treating the orthopedic aftereffects of the polio virus.  Since then, they have expanded their care disciplines to include pediatric orthopedics, burns, spinal cord injuries and cleft lip and palate.

There are now 22 Shriners Hospitals for Children in North America alone.  Their motto, “Today’s research is tomorrow’s patient care,” keeps them at the forefront of what could be deemed the best healthcare on the planet.  What I found most interesting is the money to run these hospitals is all generated through public and private donations, fundraisers, raffles, and can shakes.  They are not federally nor state funded.

Timothy Canter, known as TC in and around Houma, has been a Shriner since 1999 and when asked what inspired him to become one, he said, “Initially, it was watching an installation of an incoming President.  The amount of people there along with the professionalism and comradery, was overwhelming.”  Knowing TC like I do, that was only the spark that ignited a flame of passion for helping children.  I could see it in his eyes when he talked and told me about all the children who are able to get the care they needed and deserved.

What TC seemed to be most excited about, was the fact that it doesn’t matter what the financial means of the parents are.  If a child has the medical need, they are 18 years of age or younger and there is a reasonable possibility they can benefit from the specialized services available at the Shriners Hospital, they are accepted REGARDLESS of the family’s ability to pay!

TC says we want more patients!  “We have the ability and the means to help so many more children.”  To schedule an appointment or refer a patient, call 800-237-5055 in the U.S. or 800-361-7256 in Canada.  To locate a Shriners Hospital near you, visit

Macy Black at 10 yrs old, still being treated at age 16 yrs old



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