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Jerrensia & Jen make national splash with message of inclusion

Guest blog by Jen Kroll, whose daughter Jerrensia has sought outpatient therapy at Mary Free Bed. This fall, Jen wrote a Facebook post about Target’s Halloween advertisement that included a little girl with leg braces and arm crutches. The post went viral and drew attention from Mashable, Upworthy and other publications. This is a follow-up…
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‘The tables turned’: Doctor reflects on patient experience

Guest blog by Dr. Marliee Mead, who has been the Medical Director of the Mary Free Bed East Beltline Hand Clinic As a hand and plastic surgeon, I have had a long professional relationship with Mary Free Bed therapists and physicians. I even participated in the creation of their 2013 Art Prize entry! Recently, the…
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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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‘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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Ryan Podvin continues to thrive at Mary Free Bed as an employee after diving accident

Summer is a time for fun and recreation, but it’s also known as trauma season. Unfortunately, accidents can occur during every day, familiar activities, like swimming, diving and playing sports. Ryan Podvin, an experienced swimmer, suffered a spinal cord injury after barely nicking his chin in a diving accident in Lake Michigan. Five years later…
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Mary Free Bed alum finds inspiration 12,000 feet above ground

Buddy Gargus, 50, has long been an adrenaline junkie. A paralyzing spinal cord injury, sustained in a July 2010 diving accident, didn’t diminish his bold spirit. Post-accident, Buddy spent two months in rehabilitation at Mary Free Bed where he focused on maximizing his strength and mobility. “Mary Free Bed for me was a wonderful experience,” Buddy…
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It’s a girl! Recreational therapist helps father-to-be attend ultrasound

Marcus Fairfield, 27, didn’t think he’d get to attend the 18-week ultrasound for his first child. With a bit of creativity, teamwork and careful planning by Mary Free Bed Recreational Therapist Kaitlin Salowitz, Marcus was able to be in the room when he and his girlfriend, Liz, learned they would become parents to a baby girl this November. Kaitlin…
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Taking on tennis after a 20-year break

As a teenager, Steve Draft-Peppin played wheelchair tennis at Riverview Athletic Club in Grand Rapids. And he was pretty good, finishing at or near the top in his singles and doubles divisions in 1992. But a few years later, Steve left wheelchair tennis behind in favor of other pursuits. Then there was college and career…
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In sickness and in health: Mary Free Bed alums celebrate 50th anniversary

John and Linda Pincumbe plan to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in a big way this summer. The event will be quite a milestone, considering that an October 2013 car crash nearly killed them both. After the accident, the Pincumbes spent 9 months in hospitals and rehabilitation centers before returning home to Schoolcraft last summer….
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