Margaret Ann Risk traveling miles for children's hospitals

Royal hug: Supreme Queen of the Nile Margaret Ann Risk is happy to see Rosemary Caruso, a Past Queen, when her bus, all the way from Texas, pulled into the Masonic Hall in Latham on Sept. 14 during one of Risk's 112 stopovers throughout North America for the Daughters of the Nile Foundation.

Raising awareness: On Sept. 14, Supreme Queen of the Nile Margaret Ann Risk, at center, stands between Pat Irwin, Cyrene's Queen, at left, and Past Queen Rosemary Caruso, Altamont correspondent for The Enterprise, as they draw attention to children who need medical help. The Daughters of the Nile is a female auxiliary of Shriners International, part of Freemasonry, known for its Shriners Hospitals for Children. For more information, go to www.donfdn.org.

When Margaret Ann Risk woke up one day, she thought about Dr. Martin Luther King’s famous speech,” I Have a Dream.” Little did her friends know that Risk had a dream also. Just like Dr. King, she started working with her friends to bring her dream to fruition.

This past weekend, Risk and her dream came rolling into Albany. A dream that took several years to accomplish was now turning heads wherever it appeared.

She smiled as she carefully stepped out of her “Dream” motor coach to greet those who were on hand to meet her at the Masonic Hall in Latham. She described the wrap-around decal that covered the motor coach as her rolling billboard.

Her dream was first described to some friends who agreed with her plan and said, “Please allow us to raise the funds for this project.” She said that it took about two seconds to think the request through and say “Yes!”

Risk emphasized that the funds raised for the motor coach, wrap-around, and travel expenses were raised separately by these friends and did not take away from the Daughters of the Nile Foundation, or monies raised for the Shriners Hospitals.

This past June, in Grapevine, Texas, Risk was installed as the Supreme Queen of the Daughters of the Nile. Founded in 1913, Daughters of the Nile is an international fraternal organization for women 18 years or older, who are related by birth or marriage to a Shriner, Master Mason, or Daughter of the Nile. With over 28,000 members in 140 cities across North America, Daughters of the Nile is proud to support Shriners Hospitals for Children as its philanthropy.

As Supreme Queen, Risk said she set out on her “Love for the Children Tour,” which is a 112-stop, multi-state tour across North America, promoting the Daughters of the Nile, Daughters of the Nile Foundation, and Shriners Hospitals for Children.

 “The purpose of the tour is to promote awareness of who we are and what we do, as well as raise funds to help more children,” said Risk.

Her plan seems to be working. She told a story about some people at the motor home park where she stayed for the night. After being at a session, Risk came back to the motor park and the driver (who is married to a member of the Daughters of the Nile, both of whom have given up a year to drive and accompany her) said,” I’ve got some money for you.”

When asked where it came from, he said that he did not know. “Someone read the information on the coach and said he wanted to help, and handed me money. I put the money on the counter for you.”

Because they keep records of donations, Risk and her attendant started down the road in the park to find the donor. As they passed some women (who were dressed in the usual casual camp-type clothes) one of the women asked if they were from the motor coach with the wraparound decal.

When Risk said, “Yes,” they got very excited and asked if they could get closer and read all of the decal.

“Certainly,” responded Risk, adding, “Why not come in and we can tell you a little about our organization?”

They had a great sharing of information. She explained that all monetary donations promote, support, and maintain the philanthropic endeavors that enhance the medical care and treatment of the patients in the Shriners Hospitals for Children.

Over $51 million has been given to the 22 hospitals across the United States and Canada. Thousands of children have received expert medical care in cheerful and brightly colored facilities designed to make the children and their families feel at home.

Risk “had a dream” that started in Texas and is still rolling along as she crosses New York on her “Love for the Children Tour.” By the time she finishes the tour, she will have traveled around 25,000 miles.

As for the success of the tour — we won’t know until it is finished but, if that one day at the motor coach park is an example of the public’s reaction, the Shriners Hospitals should be pleased with this rolling billboard of Margaret Ann Risk’s.

Editor’s note: Rosemary Caruso, the Altamont correspondent for The Enterprise is a Past Queen of the Daughters of the Nile.

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Monday, Nov. 10, was my day for writing news and going to the bank.

Our front porch is a wonderful place to get a little quiet time, read, or just watch traffic.

Prior to becoming a stay at home mother, I worked on Elk St. in Albany.