Arab Shriners provide free orthopedic screenings for children

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Outside the Arab Shrine of Topeka stands the Silent Messenger – a statue of a Shriner carrying a little girl and her crutches. Topeka Arab Shrine PR Director Roger Farthing says the statue is a symbol of everything the Shriners stand for.

“It’s our goal in life as Shriners and Masons to give kids the best care possible regardless of the family’s ability to pay,” said Farthing.

Throughout the country are 22 Shriners Hospitals for Children specializing in orthopedics, cleft lip and palette, spinal cord injury and most famously – burn care. In conjunction with the opening of Shriners’ newest orthopedic hospital in St. Louis, the Arab Shriners of Topeka opened its doors Saturday to families with children who have bone, muscle and joint problems.

“We are here just to screen children who might be potential patients and try to get them on their way to a better life through the assistance of a Shriners Hospital,” said Farthing.

Through Saturday’s pre-screening, volunteer doctors declared around one dozen children candidates for treatment through Shriners Hospitals.

“This is why we exist, this is our philanthropy. We provide a better life for kids who are having a problem with their life,” said Farthing.

Although the statue is called the Silent Messenger, its message could be heard by all who visited the Arab Shrine: “No man has ever stood so tall as when he stooped down to help a child.”