Missoula Shriners are working to bring Shriner’s Hospital surgeons to Missoula and Kalispell clinics on a once-a-month basis. Shriner Mike Weigel, who serves on the Spokane Hospital’s board of directors, explains why: “We are trying to grow our hospital as much as we can to get outreach out here in Montana. All of our surgeons in Spokane are board certified orthopedics.”

Weigel says that negotiations are still underway with local clinics to try to get a space for the Shriner’s doctors. In the meantime, the Shriners are still paying to send Montana kids out of state for help.

“What we do when we raise money, like what we are doing on June 9, is we pay for the travel to send kids from all over the state of Montana to our hospital,” Weigel said. “We pay for the room and board while they are there and obviously we can no longer advertise that it is free. There were political issues with that, but it is regardless of your ability to pay.”

Weigel says two Missoula kids were sent to the hospital in Spokane for help just last week by the Shriners. The walkathon scheduled for June 9th at the Fort Missoula Regional Park is being headed up by Ryan Pillsbury, who chose to become a Shriner to help with this particular cause. As a child back in 1987, Pillsbury was diagnosed with spina bifida and was sponsored by the Shriner’s to receive treatment at their Los Angeles clinic.