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news News Thursday, October 4, 2018 Thursday, October 4, 2018 4:22 PM - Thursday, October 4, 2018 4:22 PM

National Spina Bifida Awareness Month

Patient Wade excels with help from the Portland Shriners Hospital

National Spina Bifida Awareness Month

As a pediatric orthopaedic hospital, Shriners Hospitals for Children — Portland specializes in providing care for all orthopaedic conditions, including complex conditions such as spina bifida. Each year in the United States, about 1,645 babies are born with spina bifida. Children who are born with this condition have an incomplete closing of the backbone and membranes surrounding the spinal cord. Spina bifida ranges in its effects, but may include leg weakness or paralysis, clubfoot or spinal abnormalities.

Spina bifida is a lifelong condition and has no cure, but specialists at the Portland Shriners Hospital strive to provide comprehensive care to each patient to ensure that they are addressing every facet of the condition, including custom orthotics, rehabilitation services and surgical interventions. Because spina bifida is a rare condition, patients often travel long distances to receive care at the Portland Shriners Hospital. Wade, a Seattle resident, became a patient of the Portland Shriners Hospital in 2001 in order to receive care for spina bifida. He underwent corrective surgeries on both legs, and received ankle foot orthotic devices (AFO) to enable him to walk. Wade's mother Lauri says he breaks his AFOs often due to daily use, so much so that his orthotist has come to expect it!

However, one of Wade’s favorite aspects of the Portland Shriners Hospital has been participating in the recreational therapy program, where he has taken up golf, kayaking and basketball. “My family doesn't golf or kayak,” said Wade. “I wouldn't know I liked those sports if Shriners hadn't given me a chance to try them out. I was part of a PGA TOUR that was out of this world cool. I've met Trailblazers and played on their court. I've gotten to watch and try wheelchair sports I didn't even know existed. I also get to hang out with other people with disabilities who might encourage me or I might get to encourage them.”

Wade, a current patient ambassador for the Portland Shriners Hospital, looks forward to continuing to participate in recreational therapy and breaking a few more AFOs along the way!