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MRC News

HATTIESBURG, Miss.—For Jamie McPherson, complete recovery from the amputation of his lower right leg meant more than walking, running and jumping again. It meant helping others through their time of need as well.

The former University of Southern Mississippi defensive end who lost his leg to an on-the-field injury, not only lives a fully active life with his artificial limb, but now works with other amputees as a Methodist Rehabilitation Center prosthetic technician. He’s now building prosthetic limbs for others.

PORT GIBSON, Miss.—When Frank Gambrell found himself suddenly confined to a wheelchair and diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease in 1986, doctors told him to put his personal affairs in order and be ready for the worst.

Today, however, the Port Gibson resident travels to Jackson each Tuesday to volunteer his time at Methodist Rehabilitation Center and to practice with the Jackson Jags, the Jackson hospital’s wheelchair rugby team. He has gone back to Alcorn State University and earned his degree in Biology with a 3.6 grade point average.

JACKSON, Miss.—Teamwork, courage and determination was on display at Methodist Rehabilitation Center in Jackson as current and former patients from around the state joined with staff and visitors to welcome the Jackson Bandits home after their long road trip.

A large rally complete with cheerleaders, music, banners and signs was held in the hospital’s two-story Atrium Mall on March 15.

JACKSON, Miss.—Imagine football in bumper cars with the intensity cranked all the way up and you have an idea of how quadriplegics play rugby.

It’s two teams with four athletes apiece in specialized wheelchairs slamming into each other working to get a volleyball down a basketball court and across the goal line.

“It’s a whole lot of fun,” says Mike Blackburn, team captain of the Jackson Jags quad rugby team, which is sponsored by Methodist Rehabilitation Center in Jackson.

JACKSON, Miss.—Before her children were teenagers, Peggy Napoli took them to the mountains to learn how to ski. More than a dozen years and one spinal cord injury later, it was Napoli’s son, Brandon, who took her to the mountains to learn how to ski all over again this February.

Napoli, of Crystal Springs, was one of six people with disabilities who traveled to Breckenridge, Colo., with Methodist Rehabilitation Center’s recreational therapy program. The Jackson hospital’s program helps the physically disabled learn about activities they can be involved in despite their injury.

JACKSON, Miss.—It’s a natural rule of life. You fall off your bike, you get up, dust yourself off and climb back on. But for one Petal teenager, falling off a bicycle has lead to a much longer, much harder climb back up. It’s become a battle with spinal cord injury.

In September, Petal High student Brett Hornick, 15, fell off his bike while riding with his friends. He wasn’t wearing a helmet. He broke five ribs, his neck and sustained a cervical spinal cord injury.

JACKSON, Miss.—Whenever a visitor makes a purchase at the Methodist Rehabilitation Center gift shop, that person is contributing to the Wilson Research Foundation.

In 2000, the volunteer-led gift shop turned a profit of more than $17,500. All of it was donated to the Wilson Research Foundation to help fund research into ways to improve recovery from spinal cord injury, brain injury and stroke.

JACKSON, Miss.--Dean Miller has been named chairman of the board of trustees of Methodist Rehabilitation Center. Miller, a member of the board since ground was broken for the hospital in 1970, has been serving as vice chairman. The University of Kansas graduate, World War II veteran and oil and gas entrepreneur succeeds Earl R. Wilson who died in September. Wilson was one of MRC’s founders and served as its chairman for 25 years.

JACKSON, Miss.—When Cory Hunter first sat in physical therapy two years ago, he set a goal and made up his mind nothing would stop him from achieving it. The goal was to be able to lift his head and hold it up without support for 15 minutes.

But Cory—who walked into his Petal home four months after arriving at Methodist Rehabilitation Center in Jackson and danced his way to the Junior Prom that next Spring—underestimated his determination in a big way.

CLINTON, Miss.--After a rainy-night car accident two years ago, the outlook for 22 year-old Mandy McGehee looked pretty bleak.

The Brandon resident and Mississippi College student had sustained a severe brain injury in the accident and had emergency surgery. “I was supposed to die in surgery they told me,” she recalled. “Even when I didn’t, they still said I had a 20 percent chance to live. When I made it, they said I’d have the mentality of a six-year old for the rest of my life.”