By Michael Howell
It doesn’t happen every year and hasn’t happened in the Bitterroot Valley for several years, but on Saturday, June 1, the Bitterroot Shrine Club will be hosting a free screening for children up to 18 years old to see if any of them need the kind of free treatment that the Shriners are famous for offering to children. That would include orthopedic problems, burns, spinal cord injuries, or cleft lip or palette, among other things, including sports injuries.
Local Shriner Wayne Jones is orchestrating the event that is scheduled to take place at the Marcus Daly Rehabilitation Center on Saturday, June 1, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon.
“Our aim is to identify children in the community that are in need of hospital treatment and get it for them at no cost to the family,” said Jones. He said that the Shrine Club pays for everything including transportation, hotel rooms for the parents, as well as all hospital costs. Jones said that financial status was not a consideration.
“We don’t consider finances,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if the family has lots of money or no money, it’s not a question.”
Pediatric Physical Therapist Holly Jarvis, who will be working at the screening, encouraged anyone with any concerns at all about their children’s orthopedic health to bring them in for examination.
“If a child’s foot seems to be turning out or in, if they have any trouble walking or appear to lack some coordination, or have persistent pain in a knee or hip, a curving spine or anything that has you worried as a parent, you should bring them in for screening,” said Jarvis. She called it a great starting point that could simply result in reassurance that the problems are not severe and not worth fretting over.
“If we can alleviate some of that parental anxiety, that in itself is worthwhile,” said Jarvis.
Dr. J.P. Moreland of Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital, who volunteers his time for the clinic, said that it would not happen except for the volunteer commitment of the hospital staff.
“The Shriners do a great job,” said Moreland. “It’s a wonderful charitable effort that benefits a lot of kids.”
Anyone wanting to attend the clinic can make an appointment by calling Wayne Jones at 363-5192.