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“I was dropped off in heaven, and surrounded by angels.”

On a crisp Saturday in February 2009, 67-year-old Phil Stefanich gathered with friends at a cottage in Grayling to go cross-country skiing. “I was just skiing along, enjoying the scenery, when my skis got away from me,” Phil says. “I flipped up into the air, came down flat on my back and my head whiplashed.”…
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Patient recovering from gunshot wound recognized for efforts

By Stephanie Sundheimer Landon Whitaker has a lot to be happy about. He recently returned from a trip to Washington D.C. where President Obama congratulated the boy for his courage, willpower, and determination. But meeting the president is likely second on Landon’s list of things to be happy about. Landon, just 12 years old, was…
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MFB patient, Pat Smith: “I just want to talk!”

by Jess Venlet On the first day of speech therapy at Mary Free Bed, Pat Smith knew her life would never be the same. Her speech therapist held picture cards in front of her, and asked her where she should go at night when she was tired. One of the pictures was of a bed,…
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“Measure the small successes,” says parent of brain injury patient

by Maureen McKenzie Lauren Culp, a 16-year-old from Fort Gratiot, was on vacation with her friends at a northern Michigan ski resort. At the end of the day on January 31, 2010, Lauren and her friends decided to go sledding. Trying to be safe, Lauren wore a helmet, but was going too fast to be…
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Staying positive with Maria Penland

by Jess Venlet Mary Free Bed launched a new advertising campaign June 1. This post is the first in a series of the rehabilitation and recovery stories of all the real Mary Free Bed patients featured in our new commercials and billboards. Just moments after I say, “Thank you, Maria. Bye.” and end our phone…
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Therapeutic technology helps spinal cord injury patient

Kari, 24, sustained a spinal cord injury in an auto accident at the C6-C6 level (tetraplegia). Initially, Kari was placed in a halo, then in a cervical collar. An inpatient at Mary Free Bed for 4.5 months, Kari continues her physical and occupational therapy as an outpatient 3 days a week. In the video, Kari…
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Hairstylists Volunteer Talents

Over the past 6 months Mary Free Bed has been lucky enough to have a team of  hairstylists come in on a rotating basis to volunteer their time and talents to patients. They do a fantastic job at both hair and lifting the spirits of patients. “My daughter was in therapy at MFB when she…
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Jr. Pacers Wheelchair Basketball—2009 Midwest Conference Champs

by Jess Venlet I didn’t know what to expect when I arrived at Jenison High School to watch wheelchair basketball for the first time. I thought that the game would be pretty laid back. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The games were intense, and the players competitive. I realized my mistake quickly. I had…
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The earlier torticollis is treated, the better

Jasper Jacobson of Zeeland was born premature. After an extended stays in a neonatal unit his parents noticed Jasper preferred to have his head turned in a certain direction, which caused him to develop a flat spot on his head from lying in the same position for so long. Their pediatrician suggested Jasper’s parents take him to Mary Free Bed…
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“The people around me give me strength”

Kyle Dockery, 15, had a strange tingling sensation one afternoon in November 2009 at his high school wrestling practice. He told his coach he wasn’t feeling well, complaining of tingling limbs and an aching head. Suddenly, Kyle collapsed. Doctors in Lansing suspected a spinal stroke. Twelve days after his injury Kyle’s mother, Shervonda Dockery, decided to have Kyle transferred to Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation…
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