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news item News Wednesday, October 17, 2018 Wednesday, October 17, 2018 3:32 PM - Wednesday, October 17, 2018 3:32 PM

A spina bifida journey

A parent perspective

Cami became a patient at the Portland Shriners Hospital in August of 2017 after her family moved to Portland from Durham, North Carolina. She currently receives treatment at the Portland Shriners Hospital for both scoliosis and the orthopaedic complications that accompany spina bifida. Cami undergoes physical and occupational therapy, receives back and leg braces, and participates in recreational therapy programs including gymnastics, music, tennis and horse-assisted physical therapy.

During her time receiving treatment at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Portland, Cami has improved her physical capabilities, and her progress has exceeded her expectations. “Cami has grown and developed in remarkable ways since receiving treatment at Shriners,” said Cami’s mother, Margaret. “Her independence and confidence have grown with the increased strength, mobility and fine motor skills she has developed in large part because of Shriners. She walks longer distances with her walker and even asks to use her walker, whereas before, she was very reluctant to walk and relied more on her wheelchair. Her fine motor skills have progressed to the point that she needs little additional support in that area. And the recreational therapy programs have given her an outlet for discovering her love of movement and music.”

Spina bifida is a rare condition and can be difficult for families to navigate without adequate support. “Having a community at Shriners of other parents and families experiencing spina bifida has been absolutely critical for us,” said Margaret. “Parenting a child with spina bifida can be very overwhelming, given the sheer number of appointments, therapies, and surgeries, not to mention the constant change inherent in the condition. Just know that you don't have to go through it all alone. We're very grateful that we have a Shriners Hospital in our community. It makes such a difference in so many people's lives.”

Cami on a horse during recreational therapy