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Center for Limb Differences celebrates 70th anniversary

Center for Limb Differences - Therapist and Patient

In addition to celebrating the 125th anniversary of Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital this year, its Center for Limb Differences is marking its 70th year of caring for young patients with congenital and acquired limb differences. When it was established in 1946, the center – then known as the Juvenile Amputee Training Program – was…


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Hetler family has ‘only positive expectations’ for daughter born with limb differences

Guest blog: Kellie Hetler is a photographer from Grand Rapids whose daughter, Gabriella, was born with congenital skeletal dysplasia, an upper extremity limb difference. Kellie chronicles Gabby’s story on a website called “Gabriella’s Hope.” Kellie also has organized a fundraiser for Mary Free Bed’s Center for Limb Differences. A special screening of Disney Pixar’s “Finding…


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3-year-old gaining strength, skills through ‘play’

Guest blog by Sharon Weber Elena is 3 years old. She was born in China and came home to our family when she was 15 months old. She is a funny kid who likes to tell jokes. She is a girlie girl who particularly enjoys shopping and trying on shoes. Elena is active and likes to…


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‘I’ll keep going until I can’t go anymore’

Thirty-four-year-old Nate Denofre doesn’t have much use for the term “disabled.” Born without legs below the knee – a result of amniotic band syndrome – Nate prefers to focus on what is possible for him to do, instead of what isn’t. His latest undertaking embodies the odds-defying spirit that’s driven him to live a life…


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4-year-old Ayden experiences joy of riding his very own bike

Four-year-old Ayden Wilson wanted to ride a bike, just like the rest of the kids in the neighborhood. Born with a form of dwarfism, Ayden experiences pain in his hips and knees. Though he lives in northern Ohio, he earlier this year visited a doctor in Wisconsin. That physician referred him to Dr. Michael Forness at…


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‘They believe in Anna, so Anna believes in herself’

Guest blog by Juliana Morano, mother to pediatric patient Anna Morano Anna was born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate. She is being treated by Dr. Mann, which is where she first met her speech therapist, Jenn Bobb. Due to her cleft, Anna was having a very difficult time making sounds and forming words…


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Teens raise money for limb difference program

Recent Hudsonville High School graduate Bailey Gulch was all smiles when she handed a white envelope to Mary Free Bed Annual Fund Director Jocelyn Dettloff. It contained checks totaling $1,000, all made payable to Mary Free Bed. During her last semester of high school, 17-year-old Bailey spearheaded a fundraiser to help with the cost of…


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Wheelchair basketball coach & player earns spot in national hall of fame

Lee Montgomery — a wheelchair basketball player and coach of Mary Free Bed’s Wheelchair & Adaptive Sports’ basketball teams, the Junior Pacers and the Adult Pacers — recently was inducted into the National Wheelchair Basketball Association Hall of Fame. The coach’s relationship with Mary Free Bed spans more than 5 decades. Coach Lee, 57, was born with limb differences…


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Family learns what life is like with Arthrogryposis

“Following the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, my heart knew we needed to go. Not to photograph, though I did do a little of that, but to restore what was broken and give hope where there was none. We found ourselves in a mountainside orphanage above Port-au-Prince less than three months following the earthquake. Little…


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