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As a 20-year veteran of law enforcement, Devie Freeman is used to closing cases.

But still open is the case of what exactly happened to him on the night of Aug. 22, 2016 at his Canton, Miss., residence.

“In the wee hours of the morning, around 3 a.m., apparently I was attempting to go downstairs—I’m assuming to get a bottle of water—and I fell down the stairs,” Freeman said. “Later, I was informed that my door was open and my alarm went off, so the police came to the apartment for the alarm call and they found me laying on the sofa and bleeding.”

In the summer of 2016, Dr. Edra Kimmel was living the hectic life of a popular obstetrician/gynecologist.

She had patients to see, babies to deliver and surgeries to perform. So when she began feeling achy and feverish, she refused to let a few flu symptoms slow her down.

“I was too busy to deal with anything,” she said. But a couple of weeks later, she had to cry uncle.

“I woke up with complete right facial paralysis, both legs were completely numb and my abdomen felt like a girdle of numbness,” she said.

The members of Jackson State University’s dance ensemble give each other nicknames to reflect who they are and what they’ve been through.

They call Martez Baldwin “Indestructibly Paid.”

“They say I’m indestructible because I’m not letting anything stop me,” Baldwin said. “And the paid part, they said that’s because I’ve paid my dues.”

Baldwin, 27, has lived most of his adult life under the shadow of lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease that attacks healthy cells in the body.

Tennis great Arthur Ashe said: “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”

That quote is displayed outside Ginny Boydston’s office at Methodist Rehabilitation Center in Jackson, Miss. And it’s a philosophy she’s followed since arriving at the Jackson hospital almost 40 years ago.

She started with a blank slate. Used every resource she could find. And accomplished what few might have imagined in Mississippi—the creation of a nationally recognized adaptive sports program at MRC.

As Sheila Burnham boarded a boat to go scuba diving in Belize, the Madison, Miss., resident could feel her fellow passengers doing double takes.

At the time, tourist destinations were hardly the domain of paraplegic wheelchair users.

“I was a novelty,” she said.

Today, she’s less of a spectacle as she hits the slopes in Colorado or hunts game in the wilds of Africa. Thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act, more people than ever see the sights from the seat of a wheelchair.

But traveling with a disability is still no roll in the park.

Hubert Cliburn of Pearl, Miss., didn’t waste any words when asked what the physicians at Methodist Pain & Spine Center did for him.

“They fixed me right up,” he said.

At 81 years old, Cliburn is semi-retired, but still works part-time at Avis Rental Car. When pain started to interfere with his job, he sought relief by visiting Dr. Philip Blount, a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician at the center.

Dr. Vernon Lin is 6 feet 3 inches tall and has a resume 21 pages long.

But it’s his Type A intensity that got the attention of Dr. Louis Harkey, chairman of the neurosurgery department at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) in Jackson.

Harkey recently hired Lin as chief of the new Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) at UMMC.

“And we found out we have a tiger by the tail,” Harkey said. “He is incredibly aggressive. He visited several times and made plans well before he set foot on campus as an employee.”

Raechel Percy, D.O., has joined Methodist Pain & Spine in Flowood as a staff physician.

She was most recently a resident physician in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Ky.

A summa cum laude graduate of Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Mich., Percy earned a doctorate in osteopathic medicine at the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine in East Lansing, Mich.

The slow grind of graduate school was over.

After two years of study, Coretta Greathouse of Vicksburg had finally earned her master’s degree in applied science and technology management and was looking forward to commencement ceremonies at Alcorn State University in Lorman.

But 15 days before graduation, the 47-year-old fell victim to a disabling stroke.

“I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t talk. I couldn’t do anything,” she said.

When he ran high school track, 5-foot-tall Stevelyn Robinson used to fly over chest-high hurdles.

But that was nothing compared to his athletic performance at Holmes Community College’s commencement ceremony.

Supported by a rolling walker and the cheers of the crowd, the 23-year-old Winona resident rose from his wheelchair and slowly crossed the stage to receive his associate’s degree.

“You can do it,” someone shouted. And Patricia Oyarce never doubted that he would.