By Sam Wildow
TROY — Bryson Block, a freshman at Troy High School and a patient of Shriners Children’s Ohio, was recently chosen to represent the local Shriners care location at the Shriners Children’s Open, an official PGA Tour event in Las Vegas this October.
“I’m appreciative and proud to be the Shriners Ambassador,” Bryson said. “I think that event is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
Bryson was chosen as one of 22 patient ambassadors throughout the country to represent the pediatric care network at the tournament, where he will serve as a standard bearer throughout the weekend, carrying the scores of professional golfers as they compete in the tournament. It is a rare “inside the ropes” opportunity at a PGA Tour event, as well as the chance to share how Shriners Hospitals have helped transform his life.
Bryson, 14, lives with his mom Jaclyn, his brother Ryan, and his sister Milanea. When he was eight years old, he sustained second- and third-degree burns over 87% of his body. He was transported to Shriners Children’s Ohio, where he spent more than five months in treatment. He was determined to celebrate his ninth birthday at home, and because of the hospital’s pediatric burn expertise and loving care, Bryson was able to reach his goal.
Now a freshman at Troy High School, Bryson plays three sports, including football, basketball, and baseball.
“I think that Shriners hospital is really great overall,” Bryson said. “It’s pretty much always positive.” Bryson has returned to Shriners Children’s Ohio for more than 40 surgeries for skin grafts and scar releases, but he always looks forward to seeing the staff.
“It’s a great hospital with great people,” Bryson said.
“He never really dreads going back,” Jaclyn Brock, Bryson’s mom, said.
“I didn’t really know the extent of what they did until we had to experience it ourselves,” Jaclyn said about Shriners. She said it was an eye-opening experience at Shriners, adding that, at Shriners, ”Everybody has the biggest heart.”
She said they are appreciative and grateful for Bryson being chosen to be a patient ambassador, and they are looking forward to getting to travel to the PGA Tour event in Las Vegas.
“He’s looking forward to that part of the experience,” Jaclyn said. “Being able to represent Shriners is like icing on the cake.”
In addition to carrying the scoreboard for the golfers, Bryson and his family also hope to connect with other patient ambassadors in event.
“I’m very proud,” Jaclyn said.
As part of being a patient ambassador, Bryson is also doing a fundraiser for Shriners Children’s Ohio. He recently hit his first goal of $5,000, and now he’s hoping to raise $10,000 for Shriners.
“Thank you for the people who have donated,” Bryson said. “I think you should donate if you’re thinking about it because we got to win.”
To donate, visit donate.lovetotherescue.org/fundraiser/2785451. All of the proceeds benefit Shriners Children’s Ohio.
Shriners Hospitals for Children is changing lives every day through innovative pediatric specialty care, world-class research, and outstanding medical education. Their 22 locations in the United States, Canada, and Mexico provide advanced care for children with orthopaedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palate regardless of the families’ ability to pay. Visit www.shrinerschildrens.org for more information.