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Paige heads back to school after spinal cord injury

Summer took a scary turn for the Baird family when their eight-year-old daughter fell from the deck of a cottage in Northern Michigan.

Paige at school

Paige and her parents at the first day of school

Paige wasn’t breathing and had to be resuscitated. She was taken to Munson Healthcare in Cadillac, where doctors determined Paige broke the C2 vertebrae in her neck and bruised her spinal cord. She was flown to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, where doctors performed emergency surgery and attached a halo brace to stabilize her neck and spine.

Five days later, Paige was transferred to Mary Free Bed to begin her rehabilitation journey. The injury had caused temporary paralysis, so Paige was very weak and could only move one hand. Following seven weeks of intensive therapy, Paige graduated from the Mary Free Bed Kids inpatient program and walked out our doors.

The Baird family returned to their home in Hemlock, a small town near Saginaw where the community has rallied around Paige. While she was at Mary Free Bed, two friends sent a video of them doing a push-up for each day Paige spent in the hospital. The effort soon grew into a small movement with its own hashtag – #PushUpsForPaige – that even included the Hemlock football team.

“When Paige got tired during a therapy session, she would ask for some new push-up videos,” said Sarah Baird, Paige’s mother. “That always seemed to motivate her to get through a hard day.”

On Sept. 16, just four days after her return home, Paige returned to school and a special assembly. Joined by Mary Free Bed Child Life Specialist Mariah Bruff, Paige shared the story of her injury, rehabilitation and continuing recovery. The assembly was an opportunity for students to ask questions and educate them about how to keep Paige safe in school.

In this video, you’ll meet Paige and the people who lovingly came together to support her recovery.

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