Walking on water

Nathan Liewicki
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Shaw, Rosnes among those assisted by Shriners

Tenia Shaw recalls the expectations she had of her unborn daughter, Krystal.

“I was a very sports-oriented person and I always had the dream of my children becoming athletes,” said Shaw.

When Krystal, now 20, was born, those dreams were dashed – temporarily – because Krystal was born with a congenital condition called arthrogryposis.

“I was born with my legs crossed up to my stomach,” said Krystal.

Since she was a toddler, Krystal has had about a dozen surgeries, including one a couple of weeks ago.

Told by doctors she would never walk, Krystal took her first steps at the age of six. But she did more than walk.

At age nine, she discovered her passion and the arena she felt most confident in. That arena was the swimming pool and she excelled in it. The former Moose Jaw Flying Fin even competed for Canada at international competitions.

“I can move my legs and it gives me confidence,” Krystal said of swimming. “I can actually move my legs in the water and I can walk in the water. It's like I'm stress-free in the water.”

And instead of piano recitals, Shaw could now be that passionate sports mother she dreamed of becoming.

“I was so excited because I finally got to go and cheer her on,” Shaw said of Krystal.

However, without the help of the Moose Jaw Shrine Club (MJSC) and its partnership with the Montreal-based Shriners Hospital for Children Canada, Krystal said she does not thinking she would be walking.

“The Shriners Hospital is like a second home for me and they treat me like family,” she said.

Krystal’s parents constantly pushed her, especially her mother.

“She’s my anchor,” Krystal said,

On Tuesday, Krystal and two other patients the MJSC supports were at the club to welcome Shriners International members on its coast to coast to coast Canadian trek to build recognition and awareness for the brand new, state of the art, Shriner’s Hospital – also in Montreal.

Plastered with well-wishing stickers, a Ford Explorer named “Fez” rolled into the Friendly City accompanied by a caravan of Shriners.

“When these kids go to Montreal – even the travel – is 100 per cent funded by us,” noted Garth Hordenchuk, vice-president of the MJSC.

When hotel costs for an accompanying parent and costs for a tutor to help the children keep up with their schooling, those costs regularly climb into the thousands of dollars, and are also covered by the Shriners.

Like Krystal, Shaylee Rosnes, 17, has been aided by the Shriners’ generosity in helping local children receive the medical attention they require.

Rosnes has cerebral palsy and has been to Montreal numerous times since she was four-and-a-half years old. She is very grateful for the assistance the Shriners has provided her.

“I wouldn’t know half the people I know, like Krystal, without the help of the Shriners,” Rosnes told the Times-Herald.

Rosnes is excited to graduate from high school in a year’s time, while Krystal looks forward to beginning her business degree at the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology in the fall.

Without the Shriners, both young women might not be the success stories they are today.

Nathan Liewicki can be reached at 306-691-1256 or follow him on Twitter @liewicks

Organizations: Shriners, Moose Jaw Shrine Club, Shriners Hospital Times-Herald Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology

Geographic location: Montreal, Canada, Friendly

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