MYRTLE BEACH — As an estimated 15,000 Shriners from the South Atlantic Shrine Association celebrate their 2012 fall festival in Myrtle Beach next weekend, the group invites children with orthopedic problems to a free screening Sept. 22 to see if they qualify for care.
Children under age 18 who have orthopedic abnormalities, whether congenital or caused by accident, are encouraged to stop by the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce parking lot, 1200 N. Oak St., between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. for a free screening. Children will be evaluated for possible care at Shriners Hospital for Children located in Greenville, S.C.
“For children that need our help, qualifying is the thing that allows doctors to see the patients,” Festival Director General George Clement said at an August Myrtle Beach City Council workshop.
Children with an injury or condition involving the bones, joints and muscles are eligible for the free screening. If a child qualifies for treatment at Shriners Hospital, he or she is not obligated to seek treatment there.
“What we want people to do is is bring their child for the screening if they have any type of issue … anything that deals with orthopedic issues, whether they were born with it or if it’s from an athletic injury,” Clement said.
Not only are the screenings free, but there’s no charge to the family for treatment.
“If we have a child in need and we’re able to take care of that need, there is no cost to the family,” Clement said. “If they are strained and we are able to help them at our hospital, we even have road runners that will take them to the hospital at no cost and we’ll bring them home.”
The Shriners also offered screenings in conjunction with the Children’s Miracle Network during the annual Beach, Boogie and BBQ event, finding 12 children who are qualified for treatment at the hospital, said SASA member Jack Thompson.
“I think about 12 children were accepted into the Shrine Hospital system for treatment,” Thompson said.
Clement said they’ve been holding the screenings for the past six or seven years and probably see an average of 40 children.
“I’m hoping to do more than that this time,” he said. “But at the same time I’m hoping we don’t have any who are suffering from orthopedic issues.”
In addition to Saturday’s screening, the festival will feature a golf tournament, market place and parade.
SASA has held its annual meeting in Myrtle Beach several times, including its first meeting in 1974. In a City Council proclamation presented to the group Tuesday, the City Council offered an open invitation to the Shriners to return to Myrtle Beach as often as possible.
SASA signed a deal to host the festival in the city through 2014, Thompson said. Mayor John Rhodes said he hopes the partnership will continue once the deal is fulfilled.
“I’d like to see you make this thing permanent,” Rhodes said at an August council workshop.
Contact MAYA T. PRABHU at 444-1722 or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_MPrabhu.