Teen female wrestling champ has Shriners to thank for recovery - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Teen female wrestling champ has Shriners to thank for recovery

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by Krystal Paco

Guam - For the last century, Shriners Hospital for Children has provided care for children with orthopedic conditions, burns, and spinal cord injuries free of charge.

For fifty of those years, they've cared for Guam's youth too, partnering with the department of public health and social services to make bi-annual visits to the island.

If you saw her on the wrestling mat, you would never have guessed that 16-year-old all-island girls champion Taiann Perez has undergone 18 surgeries on her feet thanks to Shriners Hospital for Children.

"She's been with the Shriners since she was only 17 months. She's a recovering burn victim," said her mother, Annie. She watches Taiann meet with her Shriners orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Ellen Reney, who is based out of Shriners Honolulu, she smiles with joy as the two look more like old friends.

"She's very comfortable with the doctor because Dr. Reney was her doctor when she went out for the second to the last surgery that she had," she said.

And every six months, Taiann and her mother set appointments with Shriners when they pay their bi-annual visits to Guam. All of which, is free.

"She's a very wonderful doctor. She has great services out there. I'm really appreciative. They gave us all they help they can for my daughter and it's all free of charge. They house us. They took care of my daughter very well," she said.

Although she's seen hundreds of patients in her weeklong visit to the island, Dr. Reney says she always remembers Taiann.

"We know each other pretty well. I've taken care of Taiann for many years probably most of her life since she was unfortunately burned as a small child," she said.

"Her initial injury was a burn and when children develop burns then they develop scars especially when they're very young. As they grow they develop contractures and the bones and the feet don't grow straight from the tightness of those scars so mainly what we've done is help release those scars and rearrange things so her bones can grow more comfortably."

Overall, after a look at Taiann's feet and some paperwork to conduct a followup xray, Dr. Reney gives the all-clear for Taiann to continue her wrestling endeavors...

"My doctor rocks and she's the bomb," she said.

If your child was born with a deformity or has a disease and/or injury involving the bones, joints, and muscles, and you'd like to schedule an appointment with Shriners on their next visit, call the department of public health at 735-7351 or 7174.

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