Vernon Shrine Club #7 members Jake Terpstra

Vernon Shrine Club #7 members Jake Terpstra

Shriners: it’s all about caring for children

The Vernon Shrine Club, Shriner Care Cruiser, B.C. Shriners Transportation Society

The Shrine Club loves to help children and that always shows when members talk about their programs.

“We think a lot of people don’t know we are here or realize that all our services are free and there is no means test for the families. It’s all to help the children and their families when they need our help,” said Jake Terpstra, Vernon Shrine Club #7.

The Shriners Care Cruiser is a bus equipped to make the trip to hospitals comfortable for everyone. The bus leaves the Okanagan three times a week. Each year about 400 B.C. children are transported to hospitals in Vancouver or to Shriners Hospitals in the United States, where they receive treatment at no cost to the family or to the B.C. government.

In 2010, the Care Cruiser carried 2,837 passengers a total of 343,798 kilometres. There are presently 10 children being helped through the Vernon Club. In 2010, Shriners donated more than $5 million to care to B.C. children, including medical care in hospitals, transportation, donations to local charities and providing medical equipment for patients. All Shriner programs are funded by private donations, with the assistance of gaming funds and a capital grant from Provincial Health Services Authority.

One of the fundraisers for the B.C. Shriners Transportation Society for next year is the 2012 Cash Calendar on sale now. The calendar, featuring art by B.C. children on the theme of fire safety, has daily cash prizes of $25 weekdays, $100 weekends, and $1,000 for Jan. 1, July 1 and Dec. 24, 2012, for 366 prizes worth a total of $19,800. It is possible to win more than once.

“We always sell out what we bring in. There are only 5,500 calendars printed for the province so you just have to look at the odds,” said Terpstra.

The Shriners are proud that their hospitals in Spokane, Portland, Sacramento, Philadelphia and Montréal are also research hospitals which have the most up-to-date equipment and treatment and attract top health care professional staff. B.C. Shrine Clubs are working on an assessment unit for B.C. Children’s Hospital to help children receive treatment more quickly.

“We’ve got to get the word out there about what we do so that we are reaching everyone who needs help,” said Vernon Shriners Club president Henrik Hansen. “People like to buy the calendars because they know they are helping a good cause, our children.”

For more information about the 2012 Shriners Cash Calendar, $20 each, call Terpstra at 250-545-6594, e-mail Terpstra.Jake@gmail.com or see www. shriners.bc.ca.