Al and Margaret Barrett Simon begin every day with the same ritual.
Al delivers Margaret a cup of coffee while she’s reading the newspaper in bed.
But on Aug. 12, the routine went awry for Al, a Jackson State University professor, and Margaret, vice president of the Jackson City Council and an eight-term representative for Ward 7.
“I went back to the kitchen and everything went whirling around a mile a minute,” Al said. “I said: ‘Help me, help me’ and Margaret came running into the kitchen. She said: ‘What’s the matter?’ And I said: ‘I don’t know.’”
Two years ago, Carol Ann Gaddis was blowing through life like an overachiever in overdrive.
When she wasn’t selling houses, the Jackson real estate agent liked to hunt, fish, sew, crochet, arrange flowers, make and sell soap and co-host a cooking show with her husband, Larry.
“She had more hobbies than I thought was humanly possible,” marveled Sydney Sisson.
And Sisson should know. As an occupational therapist at Methodist Rehabilitation Center in Jackson, she helped Gaddis get back to her busy life following a paralyzing stroke.
During his first tour of Methodist Rehabilitation Center, Dr. Keith Tansey remembers being taken aback by the hospital’s research capabilities.
“I visited in 2011 because I knew Dr. Dobrivoje Stokic (MRC’s administrative director of research), and I was curious what he was up to,” said Dr. Tansey, then a spinal cord injury researcher at Emory University, the Shepherd Center and Veterans Affairs Hospital in Atlanta.
A servant’s heart: Dedication to service earns longtime MRC volunteer Charlie Lott top honors from Goodwill Industries
Charlie Lott appears every Monday morning at Methodist Rehabilitation Center with a smile, ready to transport patients to therapy, distribute mail and sing.
He’s known for his cheerful disposition, caring attitude and kindness, all of which have won him a spot in the hearts of patients, families and staff.
For his dedication to MRC, as well as his devotion to several ministries of his church, Lott was honored as an outstanding volunteer by Goodwill Industries Volunteer Services during its 2016 Volunteer Salute Dinner.
Never too late: CORE Clinic’s suite of outpatient services helps improve SCI patient’s quality of life two decades after injury
Since her spinal cord injury over 20 years ago, Sandra Austin has never stopped believing she could get better. Initially, her doctors didn’t give her much hope of walking again.
“I did not want to accept that,” she said. “I understand that sometimes there are limits, but I felt like if I really applied myself there was a chance.”
The director’s chair: Custom wheelchair enables audiovisual aspirations of Jackson Prep student with muscular dystrophy
With a flick of his wrist, Adam Malone rises from sitting to standing. Smiling, he demonstrates how he’s able to greet someone eye-to-eye instead of looking up at them from his power wheelchair.
It’s a welcome change for the 15-year-old, and he has physical therapist Heather Maloney to thank for the new perspective.
As a certified assistive technology professional at Methodist Rehabilitation Center in Jackson, Maloney custom-fits wheelchairs to suit the health and lifestyle needs of her clients.
When Shannon Aiken was first introduced to the world of orthotics and prosthetics, he knew he had found his calling.
After graduating from East Carolina University with a degree in exercise and sports science, Aiken was working his first job as a physical therapy technician at the University of North Carolina hospital in Chapel Hill, not far from his hometown of Raleigh.
Most people may have never heard of polymyositis, a rare inflammatory disease that causes muscle weakness throughout the body.
Shonda Brown certainly hadn’t when she was diagnosed with it at the age of 14.
“It just came out of the blue,” she said. “I had never been sick—barely even had a cold. They think I got it from a viral infection, but no one knows for sure.
“They said it was rare for someone like me to get it so young. I’ve never met anyone else with it. I’ve even gone online to see if I could find anyone else that has gone through it. It’s been hard.”
Methodist Rehabilitation Center (MRC) has appointed Tish Hughes, Cy Rosenblatt and T. Calvin Wells to the Board of Governors of the center’s Wilson Research Foundation. As the fund-raising arm of MRC, the Wilson Foundation supports clinical research studies, advanced staff education and state-of-the-art technology.
A day after turning 40, Joey Brinson received the best belated birthday gift of his life.
On Aug. 23, he got word he’d be one of only two American wheelchair fencers to compete at the Sept. 7-18 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
“Once again, I get to represent my country at the highest level of sport,” he quickly posted on Facebook. “This is last minute news and I keep pinching myself to make sure I'm not sleeping. But now it's time to snap into battle mode....USA!!”