GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – “Miracles in Motion” is an inclusive dance video featuring Mary Free Bed employees, former patients and campers from our Junior Wheelchair Sports Camp. This project was inspired by and created to celebrate National Rehabilitation Awareness Week and was our entry for ArtPrize 10, Grand Rapids’ international art competition.
Produced by Mary Free Bed staff in collaboration with California-based choreographer Marisa Hamamoto, “Miracles in Motion” showcases hope and rehability — the intersection of rehabilitation and ability.
Here’s a behind-the-scenes look:
Lewis Miller, patient and Junior Wheelchair Sports Camp camper
Lewis is an 8-year-old bundle of energy. Born with spina bifida, he’s been a Mary Free Bed patient his entire life and participates in our Junior Wheelchair Sports Camp. Lewis also is a member of the Junior Pacers Prep wheelchair basketball team.
Peter Isabel, NT
Peter decided to go into the medical field after caring for his mother, who was diagnosed with cancer when he was younger. While growing up in the Dominican Republic, he learned to dance salsa, bachata and merengue. Peter joined Mary Free Bed in 2015 as a nurse technician and most enjoys being a part of “the little wins,” including helping his dance partner, Lewis, conquer his fear of heights.
Ashley Phelps, CTRS, CBIS
Ashley, who joined the Recreational Therapy team at Mary Free Bed in 2016, has been dancing her whole life, both technically and competitively (ballet, hip hop, jazz, lyrical and pointe). More recently, she’s enjoyed movement through yoga.
Eric Westover, former patient, patient mentor, Wheelchair & Adaptive Sports athlete
In July 2015, Eric broke all four of his limbs in a motorcycle accident at Silver Lake sand dunes near Hart, Michigan. His right leg was amputated above the knee, his left leg below the knee. Eric, 39, did inpatient and outpatient therapy with Mary Free Bed and now mentors other patients. A manager at Costco, he’s actively involved with several Wheelchair & Adaptive sports teams.
Andrea Dennis, PT, DPT
While she was studying to be a physical therapist, Andrea twice received the Mary Free Bed Guild’s Minority Scholarship to help fund her education. She joined the Mary Free Bed family nine years ago, and today is team leader for the Outpatient Pediatric Program. She’s been dancing since the young age of 5 – ballet, jazz, tap and pointe – and now enjoys watching her daughter take classes.
Chris Kommer, former patient and Wheelchair & Adaptive Sports athlete
Chris was injured in a boating accident and lost his leg when he was 8 years old. A former Mary Free Bed patient, 32-year-old Chris is actively involved in our Wheelchair & Adaptive Sports Program, playing on the Grand Rapids Pacers wheelchair basketball team. He’s the chief financial officer for Per4Max Wheelchairs.
Mackenzie Haag, Junior Wheelchair Sports camper
Thirteen-year-old Mackenzie missed her first day of eighth grade so she could participate in the Miracles in Motion video. Mackenzie has familial spastic paraplegia, a condition her father and brother also have. A long-time camper at Junior Wheelchair Sports Camp, she loves to play basketball.
Dr. Sam Ho, physician
Dr. Ho has been medical director of the Spinal Cord Injury Program since 1983. He’s also an associate clinical professor at Michigan State University who took ballroom dancing classes with his wife.
Kaileb Williams, former patient and Junior Wheelchair Sports Camp camper
Fourteen-year old Kaileb and his mother, Pashion Templeton, have a rare condition called congenital deficiency of the tibia that occurs in one per million live births. They both have above-the-knee amputations on their right legs and wear prosthetic devices. A former patient, Kaileb has attended Junior Wheelchair Sports Camp for several years.
A Purdue University engineering graduate, Kent’s professional path realigned when his wife, Susan, suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2002 and recovered at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital. After serving on the board, Kent became Chief Executive Officer in 2011. Kent is most proud of the 209 percent increase in the number of patients treated since he’s been at the helm.
Everyone’s favorite colleague, Vandy is a black Labrador retriever who works on Mary Free Bed’s recreational therapy team. She’s certified as an “animal-assisted intervention dog” and is part of care plans as patients work toward therapy goals. Vandy typically sees five patients daily and goes to her dog house to rest mid-day.
Marisa Hamamoto, choreographer and founder of Infinite Flow
Marisa choreographed “Miracles in Motion” for Mary Free Bed. A ballet and contemporary dancer for more than 20 years, Marisa discovered ballroom dancing while recovering from a spinal cord infarction, a rare stroke that left her temporarily paralyzed from the neck down. In 2015, she founded Infinite Flow, an inclusive dance company, to use dance as a tool to empower people with disabilities.