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News Thursday, September 14, 2017

Billie Jo spent months at the hospital as a young child, now she's back welcoming patients as a receptionist

Former patient joins the team

Billie Jo was very familiar with Shriners Hospitals for Children — Twin Cities when she began working as the hospital receptionist last year. In fact, she is a former patient, who had spent much of her childhood undergoing treatment at the hospital.

Billie Jo was born with amniotic constriction band syndrome, which left her with four smaller fingers on her right hand and a below the knee amputation of her left leg. She had her first surgery at 3 months of age. “Since then I have had multiple surgeries, I’m guessing around 10, on my hand and leg; the last of which was in 1994, when I was 20 years old,” she said.

One of her doctors was Robin C. Crandall, M.D., who still works as a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon at the hospital. “I stopped him a couple of weeks ago, revealed who I was and thanked him for his care,” she said. She thanks Shriners Hospitals for Children for giving her the ability to ride horses, bikes, skate and swim, growing up just like any other kid. 

She took her philosophy of letting nothing hold her back into adulthood. Billie Jo received a second degree black belt in taekwondo, completed an Associate of Science Law Enforcement degree, worked as a police reserve officer, earned an emergency medical technician certification, and then worked in the ER department for ten years. “It’s funny because people I worked with for years never knew that I had a prosthesis,” she said. In between all of her adventures she got married and had a son who is now five years old.

For Billie Jo, working as a receptionist at the hospital was a special opportunity she could not pass up. “Everyone is lovely here and having the opportunity to meet new patients and their families was a blessing,” she said. She says it was thanks to the help of Shriners Hospitals for Children — Twin Cities that she could achieve everything she has. “I hope that in telling my story that others may see that there is possibility, and that anyone can achieve what you want to do,” she said. Billie Jo now plans to continue her career in medicine and has begun nursing school.