Amarillo, TX - For about 26 years the Shriners Hospital for Children has been helping kids in the Panhandle get custom fitted leg braces.
At their latest Amarillo Clinic they worked with the BSA to they helped eight children. The casts were done in Amarillo back in October and were sent to Houston to be fabricated. Once the braces were finished they were shipped back to the area and customized to the patients needs.
Clinic Coordinator for Shriners Hospital, Don Ellison, said he likes working with the children. "It makes me feel great cause I came to a clinic before I ever became a Shriner and once I did I was sold on being in the Shriner system and taking care of kids," Ellison said.
The organization helps children under the age of 18. 15 year old, Nicholas Vecchico, has been receiving braces from Shriners since he was seven, but has been wearing braces since he was two because of his Cerebral Palsy. Vecchico said he is use to wearing the braces, "wearing braces is like kind of hard to get use to them but after a while it's like they're just normal like they're not even there."
Vecchio usually gets fitted for new braces once a year. His new braces are made of carbon fiber, which provides more motion to create a better stride. Vecchio said the new braces are more comfortable, and doctors hope they will make walking easier for him.
Vecchio doesn't feel ashamed to wear braces and does not want others to feel that way either. "If you're the ones that are wearing the braces and people make fun of you it's just like don't let them because you're more special then them," Vecchio said.