Again in 2022, our community of El Riad Shrine gave from the bottom of its heart to help kids in need being served at Shriners Children’s – Twin Cities. For the second year in a row, El Riad participated as a platinum sponsor at the annual Imagine, Believe, Achieve Fundraising Gala in Minneapolis on June 3, giving another $50,000 this year to help Shriners Children’s help those in our care. All in all, over $397,000 was raised that evening to benefit our philanthropy.
Close to 500 nobles, ladies and benefactors were on hand at the Depot in Minneapolis to participate in the festivities. Representing El Riad were Potentate Jim Slater, Assistant Rabban Doug Kristensen, High Priest & Prophet Mark Richard and Lady Denise, Oriental Guide Scott Denney and Lady Rhonda, Marshal Paul Berndt, Assistant Chief of Staff Todd Schmidt and Lady Laura, Tom Anderson PP, Les Kruse PP, and John Whitelock, PP Recorder. A highlight of the evening for all from El Riad was being able to talk at length with Parker Hanson, who was El Riad’s 2021 Patient Alumni Ambassador. Parker is firmly committed to our philanthropy and to El Riad, and his generous offer of continued involvement with El Riad’s programs will not go unheeded.
Guest speakers for the evening were David Voller, Twin Cities Clinic Administrator, who highlighted new and continuing programs of the clinic, and also remarked on efforts to potentially establish outreach clinics outside of Minneapolis. Dr. Lael Luedtke, MD, Medical Director of Twin Cities, introduced new staff of the clinic, and also spoke on successful partnerships that have been established at Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines, IA and at Boys Town in Omaha, NE. The Special Guest for the evening was Elena Evans, a Patient Alumni Network Ambassador. Elena told a most moving and heartwarming story of her journey through the Shriners Hospitals medical system, beginning as a 3-year-old living in a Russian orphanage, who was born without shin bones and walked on her knees, was never expected to walk, and thus shunned for adoption. After being adopted by a Minnesota couple who were looking to adopt a special needs child, and after having both legs amputated below the knees at Shriners Twin Cities, today Elena has grown into a beautiful young woman who overcame so much adversity in her life beyond her disability, and now plays competitive hockey…thanks to the care that our donations provide to Shriners Children’s.
El Riad’s ability to continue to give generously to Shriners Children’s is due to the foresight and wisdom of Divan members and nobles from long ago who established endowments for the benefit of kids who need help. Through the continuing generosity of El Riad’s units and clubs, the general nobility of El Riad, and he patrons and donors of El Riad, we are now able to give more much to those whom we dedicate ourselves to serve. Elena and the million other children treated by Shriners are the reason we do what we do, and give what we give, so that these kids can imagine, believe, and achieve. That’s what being a Shriner is all about.