Kaetlynn Rae Hall is the picture of resilience.
Born with a bone disorder called Osteochondrosis, the Fremont teen has undergone several surgeries and is facing yet another.
Yet Kaetlynn maintains an upbeat attitude.
And she and her mom, Sheila Privett Hall, are very thankful for the Shriners Hospitals for Children.
“Every time we walked in, they put a smile on her face,” Kaetlynn’s mom said. “I’m grateful for everything they’ve done for her and me.”
Hall also said she feels blessed by how the Shriners Hospitals have helped other families and their children.
At Shriners hospitals across the country, children with orthopaedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries and cleft lip and palate can receive care — regardless of their ability to pay.
This weekend, area residents can show their support for the hospitals by attending a spaghetti feed.
The public is invited to the event from 4-7 p.m. Sunday in The Presbyterian Church of Fremont. Tickets are $8 each for the all-you-can-eat meal, which also includes salad, bread and a beverage. Take-out meals are available.
Proceeds will go to the transportation fund of the Tangier Shrine Center in Omaha. Shriners donate time to transport children to the Shriners Hospital for Children in Minneapolis.
Now in the development stages, a Shriners Hospital Clinic is set to be located in near Boys Town in Omaha.
Patients will be able to have follow-up appointments at the clinic, said Stan Darling, treasurer and past president of the Fremont Shrine Club.
Local Shriners collect donations at grocery stores in May.
“We’ll get people who walk up to us and say, ‘God bless you. I am able to walk because of the Shriners,’” Darling said, adding, “Those kinds of things happen regularly.”
Each summer, Kaetlynn and her mom express their thanks to Shriners, who are part of the John C. Fremont Days parade.
“We talk to all the Shriners and the clowns,” Privett Hall said. “We sit at the end of the parade so we can go talk to them and tell them our progress every year.”
Privett Hall and her late husband, Shane, were living in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, when their daughter was born in 2005. Neither noticed symptoms of Osteochondrosis after her birth.
The painful joint condition develops over time.
By the time Kaetlynn was 4 years old, symptoms began developing in her arms. Her ankles began curving inward and she started having trouble walking and running. She began falling.
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When Kaetlynn was 4 years old, her parents took her to a Shriners Hospital for Children in Phoenix, Arizona. She continued to have checkups, blood work and bone scans there. She’d wear a small brace on an ankle.
Privett Hall has a video showing a ceremony when Kaetlynn was adopted into the Shriners.
“Every eight months we went for a checkup unless something was bothering her,” Privett Hall added.
Privett Hall and her daughter moved to Fremont in 2014 after the death of Kaetlynn’s grandma, Linda O. Privett, that October and the girl’s dad that November.
The girl and her mom were referred to Children’s Hospital where Kaetlynn had surgery on her ankle and her arm when she was in third grade. She’d have a plate, screws and pins in an ankle and would wear a brace.
Numerous surgeries followed.
Privett Hall and her daughter plan to go to Nebraska Medicine hospital in Omaha on Friday to get details on a major surgery the teen will have there.
Now 14 years old, Kaetlynn attends Arlington Public Schools, where she played volleyball.
“She’s a child who does not stop,” her mom said. “Even though she hurts, nothing will stop that child.”
After her doctor said Kaetlynn couldn’t play volleyball this year, the teen, whose nickname is Scooter, stayed on as team manager, her mom said.
Kaetlynn is involved in Girl Scouts and FFA, too.
Her mom describes her as bright, joyful, unselfish, loving and caring.
“All she has to do is walk in a room if you’re in a down mood and she just brightens the room up,” her mom said.
Kaetlynn, who has a 4-pound Chihuahua named, Skeeter, wants to be a veterinarian and an archaeologist when she grows up. She loves helping little children.
Privett Hall notes that her daughter has had a lot of pain.
“The hardest part about all this is watching my daughter go through all the pain and suffering and not being able to take her pain away when that’s all I want to do, but I know she’s a tough cookie and she bounces back really fast,” Privett Hall said. “She’s got good friends and family who help her through.”
Privett Hall asked her daughter what she wanted for her 14th birthday in September.
The teen said she wanted to have a grandma and papa. Privett Hall hosted a surprise birthday party for Kaetlynn with Fremonters Earl Buck Jr. and his wife, Gayle, serving as honorary grandparents.
“She was so excited,” Privett Hall said. “A week later, her Papa Earl passed away, but Grandma Gayle and Scooter are getting really close.”