Every year, Shriners Children’s™ selects National Patient Ambassadors to represent the healthcare system’s patients. The ambassadors share their stories of perseverance and the ways Shriners Children’s has made a difference in their lives. We are honored to have these impressive young people advocating for our healthcare system.
Katherine, 19, is a student at Northeastern University in Boston, where she majors in nursing and plays on the Division 1 soccer team. After a devastating car accident in 2019, however, she wasn’t sure she’d make it to this point.
The fiery crash left Katherine with third- and fourth-degree burns on her lower left leg and burns on her right calf and thigh. She was taken to a local hospital, then transferred to Shriners Children’s Boston. She underwent emergency surgery to save her leg from amputation and was hospitalized for a month. During that time, Katherine had six surgeries and procedures and worked at physical and occupational therapy daily.
A soccer player since she was 3, Katherine had committed to playing at Northeastern University when she was just 15. To help Katherine achieve her athletic goals and get back to playing the sport she loves, Shriners Children’s therapists focused on mobility, endurance, strength and range of motion. After transitioning to outpatient care, Katherine has returned for laser surgery three times.
Inspired to give back, Katherine has organized donation drives in her community and is eager to serve as a National Patient Ambassador for the healthcare system.
“When everything seems to be going wrong, look for the good things that came out of it,” Katherine said. “For me, it was the people I met throughout my journey.”
Parker was 10 when his life changed forever. In the car on the way to school, Parker’s mom, Sharonda, had a seizure and lost consciousness.
“When Parker realized something was wrong, he unbuckled his seatbelt and got to the front to take over the wheel,” Sharonda said. Her son’s courageous action helped steer them away from oncoming traffic before crashing. “He saved our lives.”
Among other serious injuries, Parker suffered a badly broken ankle. When he learned that his leg would need to be amputated due to the injury, the athletic youth was devastated.
Three months later and feeling hopeless, Parker became a patient at Shriners Children’s Greenville, where a skilled team began working to help Parker get back to participating in the activities he loves. He was fitted with a prosthetic leg designed for comfortable support and lots of physical activity.
Now 13, “Parker is as strong as ever,” said Sharonda. “He rides bikes and four-wheelers with his friends. He plays basketball on his middle school team. He perseveres with a positive outlook. Shriners Children’s helped break the chains off Parker, and now he’s limitless!”
Parker said he is pleased to be a National Patient Ambassador,
“because I can give back a small portion to Shriners Children’s, which has given me a great deal of my life back.”