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Mary Free Bed handcyclist Matthew Chaffee to compete in Boston Marathon

When Matthew Chaffee was introduced to the world of adaptive sports, it changed the way he views his disability. “I learned to be more independent,” said Matthew, who was paralyzed in a 2014 motorcycle crash. “I’ve met people with all types of disabilities, and everyone has their own way of doing things. The more I…


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Bikes for the Rest of Us draws dozens of participants, volunteers

More than 75 children and adults with physical disabilities were introduced to adaptive bicycling during Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital’s annual Bikes for the Rest of Us event on Saturday. Each participant was paired with a therapist to determine the necessary adaptations that will enable them to pedal alongside their able-bodied friends. “This event helps…


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New Adaptive Cheerleading Team breaks barriers, builds friendships

The Mary Free Bed All Stars Adaptive Cheerleading team boasts enthusiasm and spirit to spare. The newest team organized by Wheelchair & Adaptive Sports is made up of enthusiastic young athletes with physical or cognitive impairments that prevent participation in able-bodied cheer. “A cheerleading team was a missing piece of our program, and it has…


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‘I have never underestimated my father or anybody else with a disability’

Guest blog: Nicholas Besta, 17, and his family know first-hand what living with a disability is like. That’s why they participate in Mary Free Bed’s peer support mentoring program, which is designed to give patients and their families access to people with injuries similar to their own. Nicholas, whose father, Pat, has used a wheelchair…


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Mary Free Bed goes for gold with hospital Olympics

The Olympic spirit is strong at Mary Free Bed, where staff were invited to join in the first-ever Mary Free Bed Olympics held this week to coincide with the final week of the official 2016 games, to conclude Sunday in Rio de Janeiro. More than 140 “Olympians” participated in games throughout the week and 27 medals…


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Rec therapy team gets creative with adaptive tree climbing

Every patient who comes to Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital is different. Also unique is what each patient enjoys doing. That’s why Mary Free Bed’s recreational therapy team works to individualize activities catered to each patient’s interests that promote rehabilitation, wellness and independence. Newberry, Mich. native Charles Wallace came to Mary Free Bed in 2010 for…


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Fun, fitness reign at Jr. Wheelchair Sports Camp

Charles McDonald first attended Mary Free Bed Jr. Wheelchair Sports Camp in 2002 as a camper. This year, he served as an instructor. More than 50 campers with disabilities participated in the July 25-29 camp at Grand Valley State University in Allendale. The free event offers kids of all ability levels and ages the opportunity…


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Mary Free Bed alumnus Bryan Barten heading to Paralympics in Rio

Bryan Barten will be the first to tell you he’s an athlete. And actually, he is a top athlete. In September, he will represent the United States at the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro. Barten, 42, a Hart, Mich., native who now lives in Tucson, Ariz., is one of the best wheelchair tennis players in…


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Preschool Sampler gives sports-lover Greyson introduction to team play

Greyson Gibbs is an energetic first grader who loves sports and playing with his friends. His participation in the Wheelchair & Adaptive Sports Program’s new Preschool Sampler offers him the best of both worlds. “He loves all the games they play and seeing all of his friends on a weekly basis,” said Greyson’s mom, Leigh….


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Colin Sullivan is ‘passionate about living an active life’

In some ways, Colin Sullivan’s life has changed very little in the past 16 years. He still teaches the same subjects at the same school as he did before he fell asleep behind the wheel and crashed his car into a guardrail. “I still travel when I can, play sports, socialize with friends and try…


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