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Mary Free Bed alum Mike Ballard sets sights on 2021 Paralympics

Mike Ballard and team at Mary Free Bed

Mike Ballard was living the dream in 2014. The Gladwin, Michigan native had moved to the luxurious city of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates for a teaching job and played club rugby for the Abu Dhabi Harlequins. The Harlequins made it to the finals of the West Asia Cup, an accomplishment that alone…


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Mitch Albom embraces Mary Free Bed Kids staff for care of young family friend

The Kelly family with Mitch Albom

Bestselling author, longtime Detroit Free Press columnist and philanthropist Mitch Albom sent a “long-distance hug” to Mary Free Bed employees for taking care of someone special to him and for doing “really important, amazing work.” Albom shared his sentiments in a video message for helping a young girl during her recent inpatient stay. Albom is…


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Rockford class shares final art project with Mary Free Bed

Protector by Kendall Reister

Students in Barb Kent’s Advanced 2D Art class at Rockford High School turned their final project of the school year into one they wanted to share with Mary Free Bed staff and patients. “Postcards from a Time We Will Never Forget” features more than 30 mixed media postcards with uplifting themes and messages of support for essential workers. “We hope these show support…


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With a little help from Mary Free Bed, Inkster couple battles back from COVID-19

Charlunda and David Thompson recovered from COVID-19

When Charlunda and David Thompson celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary in June, the Inkster couple will mark “a new beginning.” “Together, we’re stronger,” Charlunda said. The Thompsons are beginning the next phase in their journey of recovery from COVID-19, the novel coronavirus that’s sickened millions of people worldwide and killed thousands. Charlunda, 45, a hospice…


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Cindy celebrates her recovery a year after crash with video thanking doctors

Cindy Broekhuizen in therapy

Cindy Broekhuizen recently celebrated a milestone and wanted to mark the occasion with her doctors and team at Mary Free Bed. But with the COVID-19 pandemic cutting off visitation to the hospital, Cindy created a video to show her appreciation instead. She and her husband, Barry, agreed to let us share it with everyone. Cindy…


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Don Force celebrates his birthday and his recovery from COVID-19 by going home

Don Force in ReCOVery Unit

When Don Force marked his 61st birthday on April 28, his wish came true. “Going home on my birthday is the best gift ever,” said Don, who was hospitalized since March 29, battling COVID-19. After a month away, Don discharged from Mary Free Bed’s ReCOVery Unit and headed home to Howard City. He’s the first…


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Portage woman with COVID-19 is first graduate of Mary Free Bed’s ReCOVery™ Unit

Nancy Blodgett leaving the Mary Free Bed ReCOVery Unit

Nancy Blodgett came to Mary Free Bed for rehabilitation after spending nine days on a ventilator, fighting for her life. A week later and much stronger, she became the first graduate of the hospital’s ReCOVery™ Unit for COVID-19 survivors. “It will be a new normal, but I’m OK with that,” the 55-year-old Portage resident said….


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‘Team Lorraine’ cheers on family matriarch recovering at Mary Free Bed

Lorraine and family Photo - Coronavirus Outbreak Surprise

Lorraine Micketti has been a patient in Mary Free Bed’s Sub-Acute Rehabilitation Unit since April 2. Unable to have visitors because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 91-year-old Rogers City resident was missing her family. So, her care manager, Emily Bialecki, helped arrange a surprise. On a recent afternoon, Emily brought Lorraine from her room on the fifth floor downstairs for a different view outside. When…


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Co-workers who both had strokes reunite during rehabilitation

Ricky Belton tosses a bag while Corbie Williams watches in the Mary Free Bed therapy garden.

Mary Free Bed may not seem an obvious choice of location for a reunion of friends, but two co-workers found themselves going through rehabilitation together. Ricky Belton was getting ready for work at Ranir on March 16 when he started having balance issues. He went to work anyway, but his condition grew worse. Co-workers took…


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Send a letter or draw a picture to help us spread hope and happiness to Mary Free Bed patients

SAR patient and nurse

Patients recovering from disabling illnesses and injuries at Mary Free Bed need encouragement now more than ever. Support is an important part of rehabilitation, so Mary Free Bed’s team of recreational therapists wants to share a little love with the community’s help. “We’re seeking ways to brighten our patients’ spirits and spread joy,” said recreational…


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