‘A walking testament’

Amanda Jess, The News
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Shriners hold event as part of Exceptional Care Odyssey

Jeff Balesdent was told he would end up in a wheelchair by the time he reached his twenties.

Patients and their parents spoke during a stop on the Exceptional Care Odyssey, a 55-town tour raising awareness of the new Shriners hospital in Montreal, in Pictou County on Thursday.

The 34-year-old stood on two legs on Thursday at the Pictou County Wellness Centre and told a full room about the care he’s received, thanks to the Shriners Fraternity, referring to himself as a walking testament to their work.

“I have an amazing life and I’m not going to let anything stop me from obtaining my goals,” he said during a stop on the Exceptional Care Odyssey tour.

The event is part of a celebration of the new Shriners hospital in Montreal – a 207,000 square foot building including an improved swimming facility for training, more operating rooms, more space for research, ambulatory care and rehabilitation as well as the finest x-ray equipment.

“What we are doing is building a newer, bigger hospital, but with the same heart,” Jim Mitchell with the Pictou County Shrine Club said about the hospital slated to open in fall 2015.

Balesdent is just one Pictou County resident that has received orthopedic care, funded by Shriners.

They are currently helping 500 Nova Scotia children, 10 of which are local.

They’ve received $97 million from Shriners International, and are looking to raise $130 million.

So far, they’ve raised more than $115 million.

The Exceptional Care Odyssey is visiting 55 towns across Canada and the northeastern United States to introduce the hospital and let people know about the services Shriners offers. 

Organizations: Shriners, Pictou County Wellness Centre, Shriners hospital Pictou County Shrine Club

Geographic location: Montreal, Pictou County, Nova Scotia Canada United States

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  • Ashley MacDonald
    May 23, 2014 - 09:15

    This is an excellent organization, having been born with a dislocated hip, the Shriners have also helped me out, not only with excellent surgeons, but with the individual care and compassion that everyone showed through out my journey with Pictou County Shriners.