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Montreal’s new Shriners Hospital welcomes its first patients

MONTREAL – Chloe Youwakim has been a patient of the Montreal Shriners Hospital since she was two-years-old.

She was born with a bone deformity – a broken leg that never healed.

“She had surgery when she was two-and-a-half for that bone,” said Chloe’s mother, Nancy Araujo.

“Eventually, that bone still didn’t heal and last year she broke her other bone in the same leg and the other bone started deteriorating.”

In July, Chloe underwent surgery to install a metal rod in her leg.

Now, she wears an ilizarov apparatus to keep her leg straight.

She’s the first patient to strut into Montreal’s brand new Shriners Hospital.

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“I think it’s bigger than the old one and brand new,” said Chloe.

READ MORE: Montreal Shriners Hospital opens its doors October 5

The new hospital is almost triple the size of the old site on Cedar Avenue.

The Glen Site spreads 207,000 square feet and includes 22 single patient rooms, four operating suites and extensive research facilities.

Chloe’s doctor, Reggie Hamdy, said it felt great to welcome Chloe and his other patients to the brand new facility.

“It’s as if you moved to a new home,” he said.

“You can offer her or your visitors a new building, a new space, new facilities.”

The new space is eight floors and includes several personal touches – different themes on every floor, a waiting room with a hockey rink accompanied by counters and walls of donated sticks and pucks.

READ MORE: Jennifer Lawrence thrills young patients with surprise hospital visit

“We’re all fans of our Canadien team and other Canadian teams,” said Céline Doray, Administrator of the Shriners Hospitals for Children.

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“So, this is why basically in this waiting room, which should be finished in about two weeks, you’re seeing a hockey rink.”

In the early 2000s, there were doubts the Montreal Shriners would even survive after senior members considered moving the hospital to London, Ontario.

READ MORE: Beechwood Elementary School raises money for Shriners

Chloe and her mother are glad they didn’t.

“The Shriners is just an awesome, awesome hospital,” said Araujo.

“There’s no words to describe what this hospital’s done for my family and for my daughter.”