2017-2018 National Patient Ambassador

Emily Mellish

2017 National Patient Ambassador Emily2

Emily’s mother, Joy, did not experience significant issues during pregnancy, but moments after Emily was born, that changed. Emily was rushed by ambulance to a hospital in a larger city only hours after birth, and spent her first two weeks in the NICU, where doctors gave her a complete assessment.

Emily was born with spina bifida, as well as severe scoliosis (missing eight ribs on her left side) a leg-length discrepancy, additional orthopaedic conditions, bladder and kidney problems and other issues. When she was 6 weeks old, Emily had surgery to close the defect over her spinal cord. The following day, a long list of serious complications began, keeping her in the hospital for 28 days. During this time, the Mellishes learned about Shriners Hospitals for Children from a close friend. “It was comforting to know that even before I needed to worry about a place to take her orthopaedically, that someone had come forward and said there was a place where Emily would be taken care of,” said Joy.

Finding the right team

Emily was first seen at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Erie when she was approximately 6 months old. There, she has undergone several surgeries. Other surgeries, including a VEPTR (vertical expandable prosthetic titanium rib) procedure, which stabilizes the spinal curve and levels growth, were done through a collaboration between Shriners Hospitals for Children and Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Emily has also been seen at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Philadelphia, where external fixators were used to straighten Emily’s leg at the knee, and increase leg length.After this, she was able to ride a bicycle for the very first time. Emily always amazes her doctors with her “no limits” attitude.

Emily and Sisters

Giving back with Beads for Needs

Today, Emily is an energetic and sociable 12-year-old. She loves dancing, swimming, painting pottery and public speaking. In 2012, she started Beads for Needs, a foundation dedicated to raising funds for Shriners Hospitals for Children through bracelet and photograph print sales, and has raised more than $80,000 for Shriners Hospitals for Children – Erie. Without Shriners Hospitals for Children, Emily would not be Emily, she would be forced into a box,” said Joy. “With Shriners Hospitals there are no limits to what she can do.”

To learn more about Emily, please visit:shrinershospitalsforchildren.org/Media-resourcesoryoutube.com/shrinershospitals

December 2017


On Sunday, December 3rd in Baltimore, Detroit Lion Defensive End Anthony Zettel (East/West Shrine Game alum)was wearing cleats in support of Beads 4 Needs and Shriners Hospital for Children in their game against the Ravens. National Patient Ambassador and Shriners Hospital for Children Erie patient Emily Mellish and family were there at the game also. Anthony and Emily got together and with the help of Eric Dorsey II for Illustrative Creations designed the cleats that Anthony wore in the game. Emily had shoes for her designed to match the ones Anthony wore. Anthony and Emily have become very good friends and make a great team.

Anthony Zettel had a very good game on Sunday. He had 3 combined tackles and was always instrumental the defense’s plays. The Detroit Lions fought hard, but ultimately came up short.As they’ve done the previous three weeks, Detroit battled back in the second half. Touchdown runs byTheo RiddickandTion Green, and a touchdown pass from Stafford toNick Bellorekept the game close, but they could never get over the hump and tie the score or take the lead.


Nine NFL players chose to support Shriners Hospital for Children last week in the My Cause My Cleats campaign. The special cleats they wore will be auctioned off at a later date with the proceeds benefitting the Shriners Hospital for Children. A huge thank you goes out to all of them. There were two more of these NFL players at the game. Eric Ebron, Tight End for the Detroit lions (Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas alum) and Tyus Bowser,Outside Linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens both wore cleats to support the Shriners Hospital for Children. Emily was fortunate enough to get her picture taken with them at the game.

A special Thank You goes out to Anthony Zettel, Emily Mellish & family, Eric Dorsey II, Illustrative Creations, and Noble Dave Wright for helping make this campaign very successful.

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