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news News Wednesday, July 4, 2018 Wednesday, July 4, 2018 1:23 PM - Wednesday, July 4, 2018 1:23 PM

Help us give Ariana the experience of a lifetime...

Standard bearer at 2018 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open!

Help us give Ariana the experience of a lifetime...

Ariana smiling with river in backgroundAriana Ianniciello, 14 years old, a patient at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Canada, from Montreal, Quebec, will have the experience of a lifetime in November when she represents her local hospital at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, an official PGA TOUR event in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Ariana was chosen as one of 22 patient ambassadors throughout the country to represent the Shriners Hospitals for Children health care system at the tournament, where she will serve as a standard bearer throughout the weekend, carrying the scores of professional golfers as they compete. It is a rare “inside the ropes” opportunity at a PGA TOUR event as well as the chance to share how Shriners Hospitals for Children has helped transform her life.

About Ariana

Ariana has always loved to sing. Her mom, Marlena, remembers catching her humming to herself in her crib, even before she learned how to speak.

Ariana was diagnosed with hypotonia benign syndrome when she was 12 months old. In simpler terms, she had low muscle tone, which made feeding and many everyday activities difficult. Her condition involves all the muscles in her body. Not able to crawl, stand or walk like her twin brother Paolo, Ariana underwent intensive physiotherapy, occupational therapy and aqua therapy until she was able to walk when 30 months old. Therapists said there was nothing else to do. However, Ariana fell and hit herself frequently. Her right side was weaker and her right knee and shoulder would spontaneously dislocate for no reason. She was in constant pain.

Her family doctor referred Ariana to Shriners Hospitals for Children — Canada, saying it was the best place to help her. When the family met Odette Perron, M.D., they found their angel. Dr. Perron noted Ariana's flat and hyper-flexible feet, which accentuated her dislocation problems. She prescribed orthoses for Ariana’s shoes, which have helped to reduce Ariana’s pain and the number of times she dislocates her knee. For her shoulder, she prescribed more physiotherapy. Last year, Ariana was also diagnosed with scoliosis, or curvature of the spine, which is commonly related to hypotonia. To correct this, Ariana now wears a night brace. “She is very determined. Her condition has made her strong and considerate,” shares her mother Marlena.

Ariana started singing in public in fifth grade when she auditioned and secured the lead solo performance at a school concert. That same year, she joined a glee club at her church community center and began singing in competitions. Since then, she has performed in front of an audience more than 30 times. She is always proud to perform at Shriners Hospitals for Children events.

Help us give Ariana the experience of a lifetime at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open this November in Las Vegas, Nevada!


As part of her participation in the tournament, Ariana’s story and photo will appear in the tournament program. Her information will be shared with the Golf Channel, which will televise the tournament, and be used during the broadcast. The broadcast reaches over 700 million homes across 240 countries worldwide.

Ariana will also be our patient ambassador for the Canada Shriners Hospital Invitational on August 6. She will share her story with us and, of course, will perform during this event.

Ariana in between songs during a performance

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