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Santa to arrive via Bell helicopter to TSRHC

WHO: Santa and Mrs. Claus
United States Marines from Marine Toys for Tots Foundation
Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children (TSRHC) patients, families and staff

WHAT: Santa, Mrs. Claus and members of the United States Marines will arrive at TSRHC in style by way of a Bell helicopter 407. After landing the helicopter on the hospital’s rooftop Helipad and being greeted by TSRHC patients, the group will spread holiday cheer and deliver toys to patients. This is an annual event at TSRHC, made possible by Santa USA, Bell Helicopter and Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. This year, Bell Helicopter donated the helicopter flight to transport the Santa USA crew and the Marines from the Toys for Tots Foundation to TSRHC.

WHEN: Thursday, December 19, 2013
1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

WHERE: Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children
2222 Welborn Street
Dallas, Texas 75219
*Note: Please meet a TSRHC representative at the Ground Level of the D Parking Garage at the end of Welborn Street to be escorted to the event. Security will direct you.

ABOUT: Santa USA began in the mid 1970s as a personal project of a single individual. He was determined to bring happiness, goodwill and holiday spirit to the children of our community. His dedication was noticed by many goodhearted neighbors, and as their interest grew, these good people began to contribute their time and money. For several days in mid-December, Santa travels by helicopter to visit elementary schools in many areas as well as nursing homes and hospitals.

Dallas Marathon Patient Champion Spotlight: Kaylee, age 9, of Tyler

In addition to the junior race director, the Dallas Marathon features 5 patient champions from  TSRHC. The patient champion program is a way for the community to participate in race-weekend activities and fundraise on behalf of a patient.

Kaylee Mitchell age 9 of Tyler 10-21-2013_23

Kaylee, age 9, of Tyler, Texas, has been a patient of TSRHC since she was 2 years old. She receives treatment at TSRHC for a hammered toe and in TSRHC’s CharlesE. Seay, Jr. Hand Center for a duplicate thumb. The hospital’s Charles E. Seay, Jr. Hand Center provides unique, specialized care for children with hand and upper limb deformities through quality patient care, education and research. The Center’s goal is for each child to obtain the best function and highest level of independence as possible. Thanks to the treatment Kaylee receives at TSRHC for her hand and foot differences have not slowed her down. She appreciates her doctors at TSRHC for encouraging her to pursue her love of gymnastics. Thanks to the constant encouragment she received from the hospital, she has Olympic aspirations and wants to eventually be a gymnastics coach. When visiting the hospital, Kaylee enjoys playing outside on the playground and viewing the sports memorabilia on display in the hospital’s Olympic Clinic. She is so excited to cheer on the runners at the 2013 Dallas Marathon!

Read more about Kaylee and ways for you to get involved in the Dallas Marathon at

Dallas Marathon Patient Champion Spotlight: Case, age 17, of Dallas

In addition to the junior race director, the Dallas Marathon features 5 patient champions from  TSRHC. The patient champion program is a way for the community to participate in race-weekend activities and fundraise on behalf of a patient.

Case Bradham 10-21-2013_10

Case, age 17, of Dallas, Texas, is a man of many talents. He is a star in both sports and academics as well as a poetry writer, fluent Spanish speaker and guitar player. In 2011 he was diagnosed with hip dysplasia, a condition that causes abnormal functioning in the hip joint. When you are as active and talented as Case, the only thing that you want to know is, “how soon can this be fixed?” In May of 2011, TSRHC’s Chief of Staff Daniel J. Sucato, M.D., M.S., performed a procedure called periacetabular osteotomy, which is a surgery that changes the shape of the hip joint. Since his surgery, Case has come to know and love the hospital and all of his doctors. In fact, due to his experiences at TSRHC, he has been inspired to pursue a career as a doctor. Earlier this year, Case had an internship with TSRHC where he was able to co-author three medical publications and shadowed Dr. Sucato and TSRHC’s Director of the Sarah M. and Charles E. Seay Center for Musculoskeletal Research, Harry Kim, M.D., in several surgeries. As a nod to his thankfulness and love for the hospital, he plans to sign his letter of intent to play college football at the hospital later this year. Case can’t wait to be cheering on fellow athletes at this year’s marathon!

Read more about Case and ways for you to get involved in the Dallas Marathon at

Dallas Marathon Patient Champion Spotlight: Brooklyn, age 4, of Arlington

In addition to the junior race director, the Dallas Marathon features 5 patient champions from  TSRHC. The patient champion program is a way for the community to participate in race-weekend activities and fundraise on behalf of a patient.

Brooklyn Gibson _09

Brooklyn, age 4, of Arlington, Texas, and her family have received a Texas-sized welcome since relocating from Illinois. After Brooklyn was diagnosed with spina bifida at birth, her family sought the best treatment for her condition and found Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas. Her family made the critical decision to relocate to Texas so that Brooklyn could receive treatment for not only spina bifida but also the subsequent orthopedic needs that come with the diagnosis.  Spina bifida is a pediatric developmental disorder caused by the incomplete closing of the embryonic neural tube. TSRHC has two specialty clinics for children with developmental disabilities. In these clinics, children with spina bifida and other conditions, such as cerebral palsy, learn how to care for themselves, maximize their health and be as independent as possible. She is also seen by the hospital’s world class orthotics team who provide Brooklyn with braces  for her legs that provide additional support when she walks. Her parents have noticed since coming to TSRHC, her personality has really blossomed and that she has developed an active and playful imagination. She loves to “play house” with her dolls and also enjoys visiting the fish tanks and watching the trains in between therapy sessions at TSRHC. Brooklyn is looking forward to representing the hospital as a Patient Champion at the 2013 metroPCS Dallas Marathon.

Read more about Brooklyn and ways for you to get involved in the Dallas Marathon at

Dallas Marathon Patient Champion Spotlight: Briana, age 18, of Wylie

In addition to the junior race director, the Dallas Marathon features 5 patient champions from  TSRHC. The patient champion program is a way for the community to participate in race-weekend activities and fundraise on behalf of a patient.

Briana, age 18, of Wylie, Texas, began treatment at TSRHC for hip dysplasia in September 2012. Hip dysplasia is a medical term that represents a wide spectrum of hip conditions ranging from complete dislocation of the ball from the socket to a misshapen socket in which the ball is not properly in place. After some careful consideration, the doctors at TSRHC decided that they would need to operate on Briana in order for her condition to improve. After her surgery, Briana enjoyed her stay at TSRHC and appreciated the friendly and respectful staff.  She was geatful for the approach the doctors too to make sure she felt comfortable and understood what she would be experiencing.

Briana Russell age 18 of Plano_10

In her free time, Briana enjoys reading and horseback riding, but her biggest dream is to become a U.S. Marshall. She is thankful to TSRHC for her hip procedure so that she can be active and pursue her dreams.

Read more about Briana and ways for you to get involved in the Dallas Marathon at

Dallas Marathon Patient Champion Spotlight: Alfonso, age 11, of Bedford

In addition to the junior race director, the Dallas Marathon features 5 patient champions from  TSRHC. The patient champion program is a way for the community to participate in race-weekend activities and fundraise on behalf of a patient.

Meet Alfonso, age 11, of Bedford, Texas. Alfonso has never shied away from a crowd. He loves to sing, act and entertain, but when it comes to being a patient at TSRHC, there’s no “pretending” about his genuine love of the hospital. Alfonso has been treated for both hand differences and prosthetic needs at the hospital since 2007 under the care of TSRHC’s Chief of Staff Emeritus Tony Herring, M.D., and TSRHC’s renowned Prosthetics department.

Alfonso Apodaca_02

Alfonso loves the caring medical staff at TSRHC and his attentive prosthetists, who provide comprehensive prosthetic services and on-site custom fabrication for patients with amputations or limb deficiencies. His prosthetist, Kara Davis, describes him as a “very fun-loving, active kid” and his adventurous spirit is infectious to all who meet him. Thanks to TSRHC, Alfonso is not going to let his differences keep him out of the spotlight. This aspiring actor is pursuing his dreams of the bright lights with the help of his loyal fans at TSRHC.

Read more about Alfonso and ways for you to get involved in the Dallas Marathon at

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:

TSRHC Featured in The New York Times for Scoliosis Bracing Study

scoliosis braceTSRHC’s young patients are accustomed to receiving top-flight, technologically-based treatment for a variety of conditions, but a recent study examining the effectiveness of back braces to correct scoliosis proves that sometimes, old school methods still produce the most desirable outcome.

The randomized study, which was published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine, provided verifiable proof that the 50-year-old practice of bracing children with scoliosis brings significant pain relief, and helps young people avoid delicate surgery to correct the condition.

The practice of using braces was brought into question several years ago after the United States Preventive Services Task Force recommended discontinuing scoliosis screening in schools because of insufficient evidence that bracing helped children.

A Difficult Condition to Treat

Scoliosis is a progressive condition that causes the spine to curve from side to side. The curve typically is three-dimensional, and is shaped like a “C” or an “S.” It’s caused by congenital vertebral anomalies, and in some cases, is idiopathic.

Outside of bracing, common treatments include spinal fusion surgery in which physicians place screws in the spine to straighten it out. Although scoliosis surgery produces excellent results, patients face all of the inherent risks of undergoing surgery.

The Proof Physicians are Looking For

The study analyzed data on 242 patients at 25 sites in the United States and Canada. Patients were 10 to 15 years old, and all had spinal curvature of 20 to 40 degrees. The analysis indicates that among the children that wore a brace 18 hours a day, 72 percent were successfully treated, versus 48 percent that were observed without a brace.

Additionally, researchers noted that the longer a teen wore the brace, the more successful treatment was. More than 90 percent of young people who realized the best outcomes from bracing wore the device more than 13 hours per day.

However, bracing was deemed a failure if a child’s curvature progressed to 50 percent or more, which is the point at which surgery becomes imperative.

Dr. B. Stephens Richards, Chief Medical Officer at TSRHC, told the New York Times that evidence cited in the study was “very convincing.”

“It scientifically proves that brace treatment works for adolescents with scoliosis who are at risk of curve worsening to the point of needing surgery,” he said.

Read the full article at the New York Times…

TSRHC Hand Disorder Patient, Charlsie Serves as Ambassador

When someone is facing a serious medical condition, attitude is everything.

Charlsie, an intelligent and engaging 12-year old with an inquisitive smile, not only exemplifies how a positive attitude can help one transcend a physical challenge, she’s a powerful testament to how sharing a personal story helps others.

As a TSRHC ambassador, Charlsie shares how her treatment for symbrachydactyly, a congenital condition marked by missing bones in the fingers and hands, has affected her life at several public events, corporate gatherings and charity outings. The youngster’s speaking schedule, to look at it on paper, rivals that of a corporate executive.

Charlsie Doan

A Little Background on Charlsie

Charlsie, who was born without a right hand, began her journey at TSRHC when she was six months old. Not having a hand might be a situation that would get most children down, but not Charlsie:  she’s a violinist, she enjoys sports, and has an active social life. She was treated at TSHRC’s world-renowned prosthetics department where, according to her mother Kelly, she became great friends with the staff.

Symbrachydactyly is an extraordinarily rare condition that affects about one in every 30,000 births. Its root causes are unknown, though current research indicates that it may be caused by an interruption of the blood supply to the affected limb prior to birth. Treating symbrachydactyly includes using adaptive prosthetics that enable a person to participate in daily life. The prognosis for a person with the condition, as long as they have proper supports, is excellent.

What She’s Doing Now…

Most recently, Charlsie represented the TSRHC prosthetics team at a presentation to the Crystal Charity Ball Selection Committee. The ball is an event that benefits children’s charities throughout the Dallas community.

She’s also a regular at the KidSwing Golf Tournament, one of the hospital’s largest fundraisers. Charlsie also serves on the KidSwing Junior Committee.

For Charlsie, and so many other children facing medical complications or life-threatening illnesses, TSRHC is the place that makes typical childhood activities like violin lessons possible. Her willingness to share her experiences is a powerful example to other children undergoing treatment that, if Charlsie was able to thrive in the face of her diagnosis, maybe they can, too.

In Memoriam: Former TSRHC Chairman of the Board of Trustees Jack Hightower


photo_221600_5712004_1_5712004d.0_20130806Former TSRHC Chairman of the Board of Trustees Jack Hightower died in Austin, Texas, on Aug. 3 at the age of 86. Hightower served in the Texas House of Representatives, Texas Senate and U.S. House of Representatives, as well as a District Attorney, First Assistant Attorney General of Texas and on the Texas State Supreme Court. His commitment to service expanded to his Masonic roles, where he served as the Grand Master of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Texas in 1972 and later as the Sovereign Grand Inspector General. Hightower was elected to the hospital’s board in 1991 and served on it until his death. Hightower and his wife, Colleen, were highly devoted to TSRHC, which inspired the hospital to name the TSRHC Children’s Theater in their honor.

For more information about Jack Hightower, view his obituary