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Overcoming barriers: Patient with MS faces challenges and thrives

As a full-time social worker, Nicky Lewis has always placed the interests of others well before her own, grateful for the opportunity to regularly improve her patients’ lives. Ironically, when diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) this past April, she suddenly became a patient herself. (MS is an autoimmune disease in which the myelin sheaths that…
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Cancer survivor plays wheelchair tennis against able-bodied competitors

by Kate Snider Jess Sporte, 23, lost her leg to cancer when she was just 4 months old. Jess uses crutches for short distances and a wheelchair for longer distances. She received outpatient care from the Center for Limb Differences at Mary Free Bed until she was 21 years old. Growing up, Jess watched from the sidelines as…
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Teen recovers at Mary Free Bed after brain tumor

by Kate Snider Fifteen-year-old Brenden Haas had been vomiting regularly for 7 months when he collapsed at his home. At the beginning of his illness, Brenden’s stomach didn’t feel right and he began vomiting in the morning. When it became apparent that his vomiting wasn’t because of the flu, his parents took him to a…
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Struck by drunk driver, amputee prepares for Paralympics

by Kate Snider Melanie Johnson was riding her motorcycle to her nephew’s football game in September 2004 when she was struck by a drunk driver. The life-changing accident happened just 5 miles from home. “I knew it was really bad when I heard the helicopter,” Melanie said. “I remember thinking, if they had to call…
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Mary Free Bed memories

by Amanda Larsen John Butler has spent his life working with kids. A middle school teacher for 33 years and a football coach for 40 years, John has influenced many lives in Caledonia, Mich. John’s care and compassion for the children in his life is a direct result of the fact that he knows what…
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Patient fights his way back after brain injury from ATV accident

“It was getting late and I started to worry,” says his wife, Tammy. “So I went to look for him.” A truck driver, Tom had parked his semi across the road by a neighbor’s house. “I figured he was there,” says Tammy. “Our neighbor saw that I was upset, and he and his dog came…
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Daughter tells story of dad’s recovery from brain aneurysm

by Jessica Sikkenga It’s been two years since my Dad, then 53 years old, suffered from a ruptured brain aneurysm. The amazing neurosurgeons at Spectrum Health performed a lengthy brain surgery on September 27, 2008, to place a clip on my Dad’s aneurysm. My family and I spent the two weeks following surgery by my…
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