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news News Friday, November 2, 2018 Friday, November 2, 2018 3:28 PM - Friday, November 2, 2018 3:28 PM

Where are they now?

Former "Shriners kid" credits trusted professionals at Tampa Shriners Hospital for giving him confidence to succeed in IT career

Where are they now?

By Mary Schille

Michael Sardinas is a former patient of Shriners Hospitals for Children — Tampa. Born with cerebral palsy, Michael became a patient at our hospital when he was 2. Although having cerebral palsy presented him with many challenges, including using a wheelchair, Michael refused to give up. Over the years, his sheer determination and the high-quality, compassionate care he received at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Tampa helped Michael to achieve success. While he was a Shriners kid, Michael realized several of his dreams, including learning to walk again, becoming more independent and graduating from high school.

Michael was referred to the Tampa Shriners Hospital by a nurse who was caring for him. He required care at the Tampa Shriners Hospital after he dislocated his hip by sitting down wrong. Our dedicated doctors and nurses developed a plan to repair Michael’s injured hip and restore his mobility. He had surgery to mend his hip in 1992. Michael vividly relates how our surgeons repaired his hip and drastically improved his quality of life. “They started by making a small incision,” Michael began. “Then, they shaved my hip joint back,” he continued. “Finally, they mended my hip joint back together, using screws and a plate.” Though his surgery went extremely well, Michael now faced a lengthy rehabilitation at our hospital so he could walk again.

He began his rehabilitation with exercises to increase his flexibility and overall mobility. As he started physical therapy, Michael used a stationary bike. At first, pedaling the bike caused discomfort, but Michael kept pedaling and became stronger each day. His nurse, Connie, cheered him on. “Nurse Connie was nice. She explained things to me, so I felt safe,” Michael said. When he was 9 years old, Michael’s rehabilitation was going so well that he was able to graduate to a walker. With his care team reassuring him, Michael forged ahead. He used leg braces that a hospital orthotist designed just for him. At 15, he set his walker aside and began using crutches. Emboldened by his success in rehabilitation, Michael sought to become more social and independent by participating in hospital camp programs.

Over the years, Michael participated in many camp programs and activities. One of the first camps that he attended helped patients to be more self-reliant. Participants learned practical skills such as showering and folding laundry. As Michael grew older, he made more friends while attending other camp programs.

Throughout his years as a patient, Michael cultivated his love of computers and technology. Midway through his rehabilitation, he became curious about various machines. To his parent’s surprise, Michael began studying electronics by disassembling his family’s household appliances. Among his favorite objects to dissect were the television, and his mother’s washing machine, which he put back together.

Michael excelled in computer courses in high school. He graduated from Chamberlain High in 2006 and soon after earned certifications in web page design and computer repair. Recently, Michael provided tech support for Tampa Crossroads, an agency that serves veterans. He now owns his own tech company.

Michael's advice to current patients: “Never give up. You can grow up to become whatever you want to be.”

Michael today, as an adult

Editor's note: Where are they now? is an occasional series that features former patients and their successes in adulthood. If you would like to nominate a former Tampa patient, please email Marketing and Communications Manager Lisa Buie at lbuie@shrinenet.org.

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