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'The most amazing place'

Tioga High School senior Cade Gibson had a chance to give back to Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children when he served as the junior race director for this year’s Dallas Marathon.

The hospital is the primary beneficiary of the Dallas Marathon, which has raised more than $3.75 million since 1997. Gibson’s role as junior race director allowed him to promote the cause of the children’s hospital.

Gibson knows first-hand how the hospital helps children and families.

In 2011, Gibson broke his leg bull riding at a cowboy church camp in Lueders, Texas. He was eventually treated at TSRHC, known as one of the nation’s leading pediatric centers for the treatment of orthopedic conditions.

“I won the bull riding, but I ended up hanging up in my bull rope and getting stepped on and all that good stuff. Ended up breaking my tibia and fibula and half compound fracture, bone came out and all that good stuff,” said Gibson.

He was initially treated at a hospital in Abilene, where doctors put stainless steel rods in his leg. Gibson was later told the leg had healed, but x-rays revealed he had a quarter-inch gap in the fibula.

Gibson then was referred to TSRHC, located in Dallas. It took more than a year for him to recover from his injuries.

When Gibson first visited the hospital, he found that his cowboy image helped him connect with children who were being treated there.

“Me being a cowboy, I would go to my appointment usually wearing a cowboy hat and long sleeve shirt and everything,” said Gibson.

“When they (the children) see a cowboy, they don’t really know what it is, but I mean they know from TV and stuff. So you know they want to meet you and you sit there and shake hands, talk to them and then you just help whoever’s in need, really.”

The Gibson family can’t say enough good things about the hospital.

“It’s such a friendly environment there, so bright and cheerful. All the stuff that’s going on with different people’s injuries, kid’s injuries, you know you can’t help but smile,” said Gibson.

Gibson’s father Curtis added: “Scottish Rite, that’s the most amazing place there ever was.”

Gibson suffered two additional bull-riding injuries that were also treated at the hospital.

“I tore my meniscus and slight tear in my ACL riding bulls again last spring and that was the last bull I’ve been on,” Gibson said. “I hung my bull rope up and went to fighting bulls.”

Bullfighters are “the cowboy angel,” Gibson said.

“We’re the ones who step in and make ourselves an easier target and let the cowboy get up and go away free,” he said.

Gibson comes from a rodeo family and started at a young age. He attended his first rodeo at about six weeks old and started out with sheep when he was about 2 years old. As soon as he was able to walk, he was involved with rodeo.

In 2010, Gibson qualified to ride in junior bull riding in Las Vegas as part of the Professional Bull Riders finals. The top 10 junior bull riders from Texas and Idaho qualified for the event.

In his duties as junior race director of the Dallas Marathon, Gibson first spent time signing autographs.

“When we first showed up at the hospital, they had all the patient champions and me, the junior race director — the mascot showed up and we all signed autographs for some patients there,” Gibson said. “I probably signed 100 autographs for patients that were in the hospital.”

For the Oncor Mayor's Race 5K, Gibson spent time passing out information and trinkets to get the word out about TSRHC. At the start of the marathon, he was on the big stage as the participants were getting ready to run.

“I was lucky enough they put me on the big stage and they asked me a few questions there in front of 20,000 people and that was pretty scary,” Gibson said. “At the same time, it was just an awesome experience. I got to hold the finish tape as the half marathon winner ran through it. I got to meet a bunch of big runners and stuff, just different people from different organizations. It was just an all around amazing experience. It’s one I’ll never forget.”

Gibson also plays football, baseball and basketball and runs track. He was a first-team all-district selection on both offense and defense following the 2015 football season.

“He’s the leading tackler in the state of Texas. 171 tackles in 10 games, in six man football,” his father bragged.

Gibson is considering studying to become a large animal veterinarian if he is accepted into an agricultural college after graduation from high school. He is also considering a degree in kinesiology with the goal of becoming a coach.

“I’ve always looked up to my coaches,” he said. “I’ve been blessed to have amazing coaches throughout my life, from my dad in rodeo and just coaches throughout sports.”

Gibson says he couldn’t have been successful in sports without Texas Scottish Rite. He thinks of the hospital as family and a home away from home.

“I couldn’t do what I do without them,” he said. “Some of these injuries put a lot of kids on the sidelines and stuff; (they) don’t get to go out and experience high school sports or any sport for that matter. It’s amazing what they do for all the patients there.”

Gibson’s mom Juli agrees.

“If it wouldn’t have been for Scottish Rite, I don’t think he’d be able to play sports today,” she said. “I really honestly don’t.”

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