Shriners Hospitals for Children® - Tampa prides itself on treating everyone who comes to the hospital like family. That includes 14-year-old Riley Desin, who was born with a genetic condition called hereditary multiple exostoses (HME), which causes his bones to grow bumpy, rather than straight and smooth.
In Riley's case, which is considered severe, physicians discovered growths from nearly head to toe through a full body X-ray. When he was 14 months old, Riley's parents noticed a bowing in his left arm. He also was complaining of pain in his ring finger, preventing him from straightening it. Though the condition is genetic, Riley is the first in his family to be diagnosed with HME. However, his children will have a 50 percent chance of inheriting the disorder.
After much research, Riley's parents registered with Shriners Hospitals for Children - Tampa, and 18-month-old Riley was first seen by Dr. Alfred Hess. From the start, they could clearly see what sets the Tampa Shriners hospital apart from the rest. "They really care," Riley's parents said. "You're treated like family when you're here. You're not just a number to them, and there is no financial burden."
As a longtime patient of Shriners Hospitals for Children - Tampa, Riley has been through a lot. But Dr. Hess, who has cared for Riley through most of the teenager's life, has made it a priority to make Riley comfortable. "We love Dr. Hess and he loves our son," said Tina, Riley's mom. "He takes his time with Riley, has really gotten to know him over the years, and it shows."
Riley has faced more than a dozen surgeries, performed by Dr. Hess and Dr. Maureen Maciel, for removal of growths and lengthening of bones in his arms and legs. Riley's parents have seen drastic improvements over the years as he stays active in basketball and other physical activities, such as playing outside with his two Great Danes, Carley and Vinnie.
The love, care and support the Desins have received from Shriners Hospitals for Children - Tampa for the past 14 years makes it easy for the family to support a golf tournament organized by Rick Desin's employer, C&W Trucking. This year, Riley got the chance to show off his own budding golf skills as he participated in the tournament. "Nothing holds him back physically, and we couldn't be more proud of him," his mom said.