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SCI Videos & Podcasts

  • Tom's Story [Spinal Cord Injury Program]

    Tom Weaver and a friend were cruising along the winding Blue Ridge Parkway on their motorcycles, enjoying the freedom of the road and the scenic mountain views. Then one of the twists in the road took him by surprise. “I missed the left-hand curve and my buddy saw me hit the guard rail,” says Tom.

    Tom spent 11 days in a North Carolina trauma center and two more weeks in a Grand Rapids ICU before being transferred to Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital. His injuries left him paralyzed from the waist down. Yet because of the support and expertise of the doctors, nurses and therapists in the Mary Free Bed Spinal Cord Injury Program, he still had hope.

    “When I was first admitted,” he explains, “I had to be hydraulically lifted from the bed to a wheelchair for my therapy sessions.” Tom spent the next 2 1/2 months working hard to regain his independence. “The therapists and nurses have a feeling for how far they can push you. They would push to get me to do things on my own – which really helped my recovery.”

    One of Tom’s biggest accomplishments while at Mary Free Bed was his completion of the driver rehabilitation program. He learned to drive a vehicle with special controls that he can operate with his hands. Today he drives his own modified van, getting around town with no assistance at all.

    His rehabilitation has given Tom back his freedom. He’s even been able to return to his full-time job at Jenison High School, where he teaches mathematics – and optimism. “No one at Mary Free Bed ever told me, ‘You won’t be able to do that,’” he says.

  • Josh's Story [Spinal Cord Injury Program]

    After the accident, Josh Buck couldn’t move at all. Today he can feed his baby boy a bottle. As Josh ran into the surf in Cancun, he never imagined it would change his life forever. A wave slammed him to the bottom, breaking a vertebra and leaving him paralyzed. After a flight to a Miami hospital, Josh was brought to Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital, where he was admitted to the Spinal Cord Injury Program. The therapists tailored his rehab to help address his practical needs, like wheelchair mobility, muscle strengthening and the wrist movement he puts to use every day just being dad.

  • Rich's Story [Spinal Cord Injury Program]

    A high school senior, on his way up north for some skiing with his buddies, Rich Hamill never made it to the slopes. The van he was riding in hit black ice and ran into a bridge. All four passengers were thrown from the vehicle. Rich’s injuries left him paralyzed from the neck down. After surgery on his neck, he was transferred to Mary Free Bed where he spent the next three months. Rich was young and very motivated to do everything he could to get out of the hospital in time for his high school graduation. He was supposed to be in the hospital for six months, but with determination and the help of his doctors, he made the goal of attending his graduation a reality. Now, almost 15 years later, Rich is living a very active life working in sales and doing motivational speaking in Scottsdale, Arizona.

  • Spinal Cord Injury Symposium Patient Panel

    A highlight of the 2008 Spinal Cord Injury Symposium was the SCI patient panel session. Comprised of former Mary Free Bed patients, spouses, and one employee, the panel’s members provided information regarding their respective injuries and experiences, and fielded questions from the audience. Listen to the panel members as they answer questions on everything from parenting to insurance to building barrier-free homes.Their stories show how they overcame multiple challenges and have gone on to live very full lives.

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