Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital originated in 1891 when a small group of Grand Rapids women recognized the need for medical care for patients of limited financial means in our community. They embarked on a fundraising campaign to secure the use of a free bed in a local hospital, soliciting financial support from the Grand Rapids community, asking for contributions from everyone named Mary, as well as from those having friends or relatives with the name.
They soon raised enough money to endow a free bed, which subsequently became known as the Mary Free Bed. As the fund – and community need – grew, other women joined the group. It became incorporated in 1911 as the Mary Free Bed Guild of Grand Rapids.
The Mary Free Bed Guild, as the hospital’s sole shareholder, engages in governance and protection of the legendary culture of the most comprehensive rehabilitation provider in Michigan. In addition to holding seats on hospital boards and committees, the 120-plus women of the Guild and Junior Guild provide service, support and sponsorship of many hospital and community events, including:
• Annual Fine Arts Exhibition and reception
• Bikes for the Rest of Us (Introduces children and adults with disabilities to the sport of adaptive bicycling)
• Halloween Heroes Parade (Decorated-wheelchair parade for children and teens)
• Junior Wheelchair Sports Camp
• Hospital Appreciation Day for employees
• Minority and Disability scholarship programs
• Hospitality cart for patients
• Patient escorts and liaisons
• Holiday Lunch for employees