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‘I’ll keep going until I can’t go anymore’

Thirty-four-year-old Nate Denofre doesn’t have much use for the term “disabled.” Born without legs below the knee – a result of amniotic band syndrome – Nate prefers to focus on what is possible for him to do, instead of what isn’t. His latest undertaking embodies the odds-defying spirit that’s driven him to live a life…
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4-year-old Ayden experiences joy of riding his very own bike

Four-year-old Ayden Wilson wanted to ride a bike, just like the rest of the kids in the neighborhood. Born with a form of dwarfism, Ayden experiences pain in his hips and knees. Though he lives in northern Ohio, he earlier this year visited a doctor in Wisconsin. That physician referred him to Dr. Michael Forness at…
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Faith & friendship guide Mildred’s rehabilitation at Mary Free Bed at Sparrow

An unexpected fall led to the discovery of Mildred Mendenhall’s rare spinal tumor. The condition affected the use of her legs and necessitated months of intense rehabilitation at Mary Free Bed at Sparrow in Lansing. “They taught me how to sit up and maintain my balance,” Mildred says of her 5-month stay. “It was hard…
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‘They believe in Anna, so Anna believes in herself’

Guest blog by Juliana Morano, mother to pediatric patient Anna Morano Anna was born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate. She is being treated by Dr. Mann, which is where she first met her speech therapist, Jenn Bobb. Due to her cleft, Anna was having a very difficult time making sounds and forming words…
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Brian bonds with team at Mary Free Bed at Sparrow

Brian Byelich needed 4 months of rehabilitation after undergoing surgery to remove a brain tumor. Knowing he had the right to choose where he received his care, he asked for Mary Free Bed at Sparrow. This decision also meant he could be close to his wife, Jessie, and their two kids – a crucial factor in…
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Ryan Podvin continues to thrive at Mary Free Bed as an employee after diving accident

Summer is a time for fun and recreation, but it’s also known as trauma season. Unfortunately, accidents can occur during every day, familiar activities, like swimming, diving and playing sports. Ryan Podvin, an experienced swimmer, suffered a spinal cord injury after barely nicking his chin in a diving accident in Lake Michigan. Five years later…
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Mary Free Bed alum finds inspiration 12,000 feet above ground

Buddy Gargus, 50, has long been an adrenaline junkie. A paralyzing spinal cord injury, sustained in a July 2010 diving accident, didn’t diminish his bold spirit. Post-accident, Buddy spent two months in rehabilitation at Mary Free Bed where he focused on maximizing his strength and mobility. “Mary Free Bed for me was a wonderful experience,” Buddy…
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It’s a girl! Recreational therapist helps father-to-be attend ultrasound

Marcus Fairfield, 27, didn’t think he’d get to attend the 18-week ultrasound for his first child. With a bit of creativity, teamwork and careful planning by Mary Free Bed Recreational Therapist Kaitlin Salowitz, Marcus was able to be in the room when he and his girlfriend, Liz, learned they would become parents to a baby girl this November. Kaitlin…
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Pre-wedding teamwork gets mom on her feet

Even though she’s been paralyzed from the waist down for more than 3 decades, Pat Shipley was able to “walk” her daughter, Lindsey Eickhoff, down the aisle thanks to the generosity of Mary Free Bed staff, patients and vendors. “It was the first time I really got to hug my mom standing up,” Lindsey says. For…
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