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Local boy with dwarfism helped by Shriners

NORTH RIVER– What CJ Atkinson lacks in height, he more than makes up in energy and determination. The 10-year-old, born with a form of dwarfism, is active at school and Cadets, and enjoys taking part in parades.

Central Shine Club hospital committee members Joe Tozer, left, and Gordon Taylor often see 10-year-old CJ Atkinson. The club has assisted with costs related to his medical care and often have him join them for parades.

CJ – Charles John – was born with achondroplasia, a genetic condition that typically results in short arms, legs and fingers and a large head.

“He’s had 20 plus surgeries,” said his mother Tabitha. “He’s been to the IWK and the Shriners Hospital in Montreal. The Shriners have helped us with the costs through all of this.”

Because he has excessive curvature in his spine (kyphosis) CJ has had rods inserted in his back. He also has a shunt in his head. Surgery is routine to him and his parents expect he will probably need operations throughout his life.

The Grade 5 student at North River Elementary School uses a walker to get around, with a wheelchair for longer distances. Although he needs help with some things he can take part in many activities and is a member of 185 Navy League Cadets. He also joins the Shriners for parades.

“He’s naturally outgoing,” said Tabitha. “He liked the Shriner clowns right away. The Shriners invite us to a Christmas supper every year and he meets other children they’re helping but none of them have the same condition. There are only about 30 dwarves in the Maritimes.”

The Central Shrine Club is currently assisting 12 children in Colchester County, covering costs for transportation, food and accommodations related to medical care.

“We didn’t know much about Shriners at first,” said CJ’s father Cecil. “They’ve been a big help. We had to go to Montreal twice for a back brace. If it wasn’t for the Shriners we couldn’t have made it to Montreal.”

The Shriners Hospital in Montreal specializes in orthopedics. Children with burns receive care in Boston. There is no charge for children treated at a Shriners hospital.


– New Shriners Hospital in Montreal opened October 2015.

– Shriners operate 22 children’s hospitals in North America.

– Local club- Central Shrine Club – a club of Philae Temple (Philae is an island in the Nile)

– For information on treatment for children call 1-800-361-7256 or 902 454 7811.









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