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news News Thursday, June 7, 2018 Thursday, June 7, 2018 12:36 PM - Thursday, June 7, 2018 12:36 PM

Shawn, letter carrier and former patient, beat the odds to walk

Recently became a Shriner

Shawn, letter carrier and former patient, beat the odds to walk

Among the guests at this year's Hospital Day celebration was a former patient, a letter carrier whose parents were told he might never walk.

Shawn Skau was born with club feet, a condition where both feet are twisted out of shape. His parents were told he may never walk, and if he did it would not be with a normal gait. Skau's parents brought him to Shriners Hospitals for Children — Chicago when he was 18 months old for specialty clubfoot care offered by pediatric orthopaedic surgeons. Skau had more than 10 surgeries at the hospital.

You might expect that Shawn would try to "move on" from a place that required so much of his childhood, but he actually holds fond memories of the fun activities he enjoyed while in the hospital. He especially liked being in a community of other children with orthopaedic conditions. "When I was home, in school, I was the boy who walked funny and couldn't run very well. When I was at Shriners Hospital, with those boys I was just one of the guys," he said.

Our hospital shared Skau's story last year after his wife Shelly arranged a surprise hospital tour in honor of his 50th birthday. His story and enthusiasm for the hospital led to an opportunity to speak to the hospital's Board of Governors. Eventually, the U.S. Postal Service heard about him. He said it was amazing when the USPS shared a story entitled Keep the Pace, Letter Carrier Beat the Odds to Walk.

At this year's Hospital Day celebration, the staff learned that Skau joined Shriners International, the fraternity that founded and supports the care and services of Shriners Hospitals for Children. He also met National Patient Ambassador Isabella Rose and enjoyed the day's festivities as someone who personally knows the value of the orthopaedic care we provide at the Chicago Shriners Hospital.

Shawn Skau at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Chicago Hospital Day celebration