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UK student, Paducah resident named national patient ambassador for Shriners Hospitals for Children

Lexington Shriners Medical Center has announced that patient Lily Silverstein has been selected as one of the two new national patient ambassadors for 2018-2019.

Every year, Shriners Hospitals for Children selects two National Patient Ambassadors to represent the health care system’s patients. The ambassadors spend the year telling their stories of perseverance in the face of adversity and the ways Shriners Hospitals for Children has made a dramatic, life-changing difference in their lives. The new national patient ambassadors were introduced during the premiere of their documentary called ‘This is Who I am’ as part of Shriners International’s annual convention, known as Imperial Session.

Lily Silverstein (Photo from Shriners Hospital)

Lily, age 18, from Paducah, was born with fibular hemimelia, meaning she did not have a fibula, the outer thin bone that runs from the knee to the ankle, in her right leg. She underwent a Syme’s amputation, which is an amputation done through the ankle joint that helps to preserve the heel pad, and she received her first prosthesis a few months later.

When Lily was 18 months old, she became a patient of Vishwas Talwalkar, M.D., pediatric orthopedic surgeon at Shriners Hospitals for Children Medical Center — Lexington. During her 18 years, Lily has undergone five surgeries there to straighten her remaining right leg and has received more prosthetic limbs than she can count.

Lily has always kept up with her older siblings Aaron and Grace. She played soccer, danced for eight years including performing in The Great Russian Nutcracker with the Moscow Ballet. She completed two youth triathlons, served many times as the page in the Kentucky General Assembly, and was a member of the Paducah Symphony Youth Chorus. She continues to play piano, both as part of her studies at the University of Kentucky and as an extracurricular activity.

Lily recently completed her freshman year at the University of Kentucky. She earned a scholarship to the University of Kentucky Lewis Honors College for admissions into the Honors Program.

She is studying to be a nurse because of the care she has received at Lexington Shriners Medical Center with a minor in music. “I hope to be a nurse at Shriners Hospital after graduating,” said Lily. “It is my dream to help provide the same care I received all my life to others as a way to show my gratitude for the Shriners health care system.”

Lily as an infant (Photo from Shriners Hospitals)

Lily has been a huge asset as a patient ambassador for the Lexington Medical Center. She has volunteered for numerous patient events and played a prominent role at the dedication ceremony of the new facility on May 20, 2017. Lily has participated, along with the Lexington Medical Center’s public relations department, in numerous live television and radio interviews. She also spoke at the dedication ceremony and was the patient ambassador at the Medical Center’s 90th anniversary in May 2016. In addition, she served as the Medical Center’s representative at the 2016 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas.

“Shriners Hospitals for Children has helped me to not see my leg as a handicap, and instead to look at it as a challenge,” she said. “Because of Shriners Medical Center, I wake up every morning thankful for two legs instead of regretting that I only have one. I love it here and I wish I never had to go anywhere else for medical care.”

Lily is looking forward to becoming a National Patient Ambassador. “I am so glad I get to be a National Patient Ambassador and talk to other patients and families who are going through the same things,” said Lily. “Somewhere out there is at least one person who needs to hear what I have to say.”

Riley, 17-year-old patient from Tampa Shriners Hospital has been selected as the other national patient ambassador. Both Lily and Riley will work together throughout the year to represent the health care system’s patients.

Shriners Hospitals for Children Medical Center — Lexington

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