Fred Tate, a Conway resident and Shriner, has been working independently to locate children in need of medical care to be sent to Shriners hospitals around the U.S.
Tate said he needs more people to direct children in need to him, as he is “only one set of eyes.”
According to Tate, Shriners in the United States and Canada spend about $1.8 million a day providing free care to children.
Tate has been a Shriner for more than 20 years and said he believes in his mission. He periodically visits schools in the area to tell counselors, nurses and other school officials what he has been doing.
Free medical care, with the only restriction being an age limit of 17, is provided by Shriners, who are responsible for every cost associated with medical treatment, including room, board, gas and follow up appointments.
Tate said they will pay for the child’s associated medical expenses until the problem is solved.
Shriners Hospitals for Children provides specialized care to children under the age of 18 with orthopedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries and cleft lip and palate. Children with missing limbs are offered therapy and prosthetics. Neuromuscular disorders and metabolic bone disease are treated, as well as several other conditions.
“All I’m trying to do is reach out and help someone,” Tate said. “I want to call attention to this opportunity. There are a lot of people we can help, we just have to find them.”
Tate said many local children assisted by the Shriners are sent to Louisiana to the Shreveport Shriners Hospital. Depending on the child’s issue, however, they may be better served at hospitals like Chicago Shriners Hospital, which specializes in Spina bifida. The Beaumont Shriners Hospital specializes in burn victims.
Tate said around 6,000 patients a month are outpatients at the Shreveport Shriners Hospital.
Shriners raise money through donations, their annual East West Shrine Football Game, through various fundraisers, and personal financial assistance.
Tate said his own money will go to the Shrine one day, if any is left.
To be sure he is reachable, Fred Tate would like to offer three telephone numbers for anyone who may know of a child in need of assistance, no matter race or income, can contact him. Tate is available at his home at 327-4119, at his Shelter Insurance office at 327-1500, and at his mobile phone at 730-5127. For more information on Shriners Hospitals for Children, visit www.shrinershospitals.org.
(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 505-1236. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)