El Paso

Shriners' impact on the Borderland

How Shriners Hospitals For Children help people in the borderland

EL PASO, Texas - The El Maida Shrine Circus is in town and returns with its clowns, acrobats, elephant and high-flying tricks.

Spectators can catch the show at the El Paso County Coliseum through Sunday.

The El Maida Shriners are typically known for the red 'fez' hats they wear and appearances in parades, but their philanthropy work stretches across the nation and in the Borderland.

The Shriners of El Paso help families with children who are victims of fire or who have life-threatening illnesses.

Dave Whitley, a member of the Shriners said families can simply reach out for help by calling them.

Shriners international has more than a dozen hospitals across the nation and in Mexico to help children get the treatment they need.

"We take care of children regardless of the family's ability to pay," Whitley said.

In the El Paso, Las Cruces and Juarez region, they help an estimated 400 families per year.

"To watch the parents' reaction from the time they bring their child in, you see the concern and the despair that they go through, longing for them to be like other normal kids. Then to see them progress and to see smiles on parents faces, " Whitley said. 

The Shriners are currently helping Gabriel Delgado, 7, who was born with a genetic disease that affects his bones.

Gabriel's father, Mateo Delgado, also has the disease which is characterized by fragile bones that break easily. It is also known as "brittle bone disease."

Gabriel was diagnosed when he was still in his mother's womb and began treatment nine months after he was born, thanks to the Shriners.

"The Shriners are the reason that this little boy is doing so great, and he's the reason our family is going to have a wonderful Christmas," Delgado said of his son.

The elder Delgado said he and his family travel to Houston, the closest hospital to El Paso, that treats Gabriel.

"They help me get my bones stronger, they give me ice pops after I'm done. They help me get these very bad bones broken healed," Gabriel said. 

General Admission for the circus is $14 for children 12 and under; $18 for adults, reserved seating and floor seating start at $22.

For a complete schedule, click here.

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