Grateful dad goes the distance for Shriners hospitals
A Tennessee father whose 4-year-old daughter is facing years of treatment for a spinal deformity has biked more than 1,100 miles to raise funds for the Shriners Hospitals for Children system that’s treating her.
Graysen Nightingale received a diagnosis of infantile idiopathic scoliosis last year. The condition causes an abnormal curvature of the spine. Frustrated with treatment options close to their home in Chattanooga, Tenn., her parents, John and Susan, brought her to the Shriners hospital in Greenville, S.C. And now they want to give back. The first leg of John Nightingale’s journey will cover nearly 1,900 miles with stops at seven Shriners hospitals over 45 days from Greenville to Boston. He ultimately plans to visit 20 hospitals in the U.S. and Canada.
His campaign, Pedal for Pennies, had raised about $12,000 as of mid-September. Donations can be made at pedalforpennies.com.
Graysen is being treated with a procedure known as Risser casting, where she will wear a cast over her torso for seven to 12 weeks at a time over the next three years. When she’s old enough, she’ll undergo spinal fusion surgery.
Many are familiar with the scoliosis that typically occurs in the preteen years, but few are aware that it can strike so aggressively. “It’s scoliosis, yes, but it’s a completely different disease,” John Nightingale said. “It’s violent and it grows very rapidly.”
Shriners treats patients without regard to ability to pay, and the hospitals, which are funded by Shriners International, will also provide transportation and lodging to families who need it. “It’s just an amazing organization,” John Nightingale said. “Not only do they treat your child, they treat your whole family.”
Nightingale stopped last week at the Shriners hospital in Erie, Pa.