Category Archives: Patient Stories

Meet Dallas Marathon’s Junior Race Director – TSRHC Patient Ann-Elise

The one month countdown to the Dallas Marathon has begun! Each year, a TSRHC patient serves as the Junior Race Director, representing the thousands of children treated at the hospital each year. In this role, the Junior Race Director helps participants and sponsors understand how TSRHC benefits from the support of friends like the marathon. We are so excited to introduce you to our 2013 Junior Race Director, Ann-Elise!

Ann-Elise Mitcham_24

At first glance it is difficult to distinguish Ann-Elise, age 12, of North Richland Hills, from any other eighth grader in her class.  She enjoys riding her bike, playing tennis, reading adventure books and spending time with her friends. However, Ann-Elise spends 18 hours of each day in a back brace that goes virtually undetected by her peers.  She was recently diagnosed with scoliosis and as a result, she must wear a back brace, or orthosis, in an effort to stop the curvature from continuing.

Scoliosis is a progressive condition causing the spine to curve or twist into a “C” or “S” shape. It appears most often in adolescent girls (usually between the ages of 10-15) and has shown a tendency to run in families. Ranked by US News & World Report as the 2013 No. 1 Pediatric Orthopaedic program in the country, Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children (TSRHC) provides the highest quality care for patients like Ann-Elise and the 5,000 others who are treated for scoliosis each year.

In addition to frequent appointments with her doctors at TSRHC, Ann-Elise is also seen by the hospital’s Orthotics department, where she is fitted for a customized brace to help correct her scoliosis curve. TSRHC’s skilled orthotists carefully customize each brace to a patient’s specific needs and create the braces onsite at the hospital. The Orthotics department ensures that each device is not only comfortable for the patient to wear each day, but that it reflects each patient’s personality with custom designs, colors and artwork.

When asked what she likes most about TSRHC, Ann-Elise says she loves the friendly environment and staff. She was amazed by how much the staff at TSRHC listened to her concerns and took the time to know her personally, beyond the details surrounding her medical condition.

Ann-Elise is honored and excited to be the 2013 Junior Race Director for the metroPCS Dallas Marathon. “I can’t wait to cheer on the runners, especially my aunt and uncle,” she says. “They have always been so supportive of me.”

Ann-Elise is an excellent representation of the thousands of patients that are treated at TSRHC every year. With the help of the hospital she has no limits on what she can accomplish.

For more information about registering and volunteering for this year’s marathon visit:

The Girl with the Zebra Leg – A TSRHC Patient Story

Staff Tony Herring; former patient Patience Beard

Patience with TSRHC Chief of Staff Emeritus Dr. Tony Herring

As soon as Patience Beard was born, her parents knew she was special. They told her growing up that God had made her just the way she was supposed to be made, and that she could do anything – despite the fact that she had been born with proximal focal femoral deficiency, a rare birth defect that prohibited growth in one of her legs.

At the age of eight months old, it came time for her parents to make a decision: should they attempt multiple surgeries throughout her life in order to recover her leg or should they amputate it? Years later, Patience is grateful to her parents for the difficult decision they made to go to Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children to have her leg amputated.

Once she reached seventh grade, she was comfortable enough using her prosthetic leg to try out for the cheerleading squad with the rest of her friends. It became her passion, and she was one of the best on the squad. There was nothing her prosthetic leg could keep her from doing.

As college soon approached, she decided she wanted to continue her love of cheerleading and audition for the University of Arkansas cheering squad. They told her beforehand that there would be no exceptions made and that if she could not perform as well as the other cheerleaders, she would not be chosen. She was accepted on the squad and felt proud knowing that despite her amputation, she was able to perform just as well as the others that auditioned.

Watch Patience’s inspiring story and learn more about the exceptional work done in TSRHC’s Prosthetics Department at

7-Year-Old Emily of Emily’s Monkeys Sells 720 Doughnuts, Raises $2,120 for TSRHC in 2 Days

Even though she’s just seven years old, little Emily felt the need to thank Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in a big way.

Before we talk in more detail about the inspiring feat this child accomplished, it’s important to know a little about Emily’s background.   Emily suffers from a condition called juvenile dermatomyositis (JDM), a condition so rare that it affects just 3 in 1 million children.

What is Juvenile Dermatomyositis (JDM)?  

JDM is an autoimmune dysfunction that manifests itself in children, primarily in females.  The body’s immune system turns against itself, attacking its blood vessels.  This rare condition causes some or all of the following complications:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Inflammation in muscles
  • A distinctive red rash on the face, eyelids, hands and many of the major joints
  • Calcium deposits under the skin

The condition also results in fatigue, poor coordination, and when it becomes particularly severe, simple tasks like walking up stairs or lifting light objects become painfully difficult for the affected individual.

Unfortunately, doctors still aren’t entirely sure what causes the condition, although popular belief holds genetics responsible.  Because the condition is so rare, it often gets misdiagnosed for other muscle diseases like muscular dystrophy.

Emily Overcomes all Odds

Despite the rare nature of this condition, Emily eventually found her way to TSRHC’s pediatric rheumatology clinic, where she receives treatment.

Because of this special treatment, Emily wanted to extend her thanks, but wasn’t quite sure how. Eventually she and her family founded Emily’s Monkeys. With the help of friends and volunteers they have been making sock monkeys to give to children currently awaiting surgery and holding other fundraisers to raise money for TSRHC.

Emilys Monkeys TSRHC

Last month, Emily’s father Josh suggested asking her favorite donut shop, The Hole Thing in Forney, Texas, if they would be willing to co-host a fundraiser.  Without any hesitation, The Hole Thing wholeheartedly agreed. Both agreed to make 720 monkey-shaped donuts, flavored with chocolate and banana.

All 720 donuts lasted just 48 hours.  $2,120 was raised, and The Hole Thing opted to match the funds.  A check totaling $4,239 was delivered to TSRHC during one of Emily’s Monkeys popular sock monkey making parties on Saturday, June 8 at the old firehouse in downtown Forney.

Great work Emily, and thank you for your efforts!