“Hey, what are you doing?” 

If Robyn Thomas had answered that text, the reply might have been: Fighting for my life.

On May 21, 2012, the Snow Lake teen was found trapped in her silver Ford Fusion, the victim of a brain-damaging crash. 

“We believe she looked down at her phone and hit a tree going 60 miles per hour,” said her mother, Kim. 

Robyn can’t recall being pried from the wreckage with the Jaws of Life. Or the helicopter whisking her to The Med in Memphis. Or her parents’ despair when they learned their 19-year-old daughter might not survive the night.

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Jay Killen couldn’t see with his eyelids sewn shut.

He couldn’t talk with a breathing tube down his throat.

And he sure as heck couldn’t move.  All his muscles—even those that control blinking—had been put on strike by a strange, head-to-toe paralysis.

So the Horn Lake man could only listen in horror as doctors discussed removing his life support.

“I overheard them tell my wife, Amanda, that they wanted to take me off my feeding tube and ventilator. I thought: Oh my God.”

And Amanda thought: Oh no you won’t give up on my husband.

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The Wilson Research Foundation announced today the appointment of Lyn McMillin of Madison to its board of governors.  The foundation supports Methodist Rehabilitation Center in Jackson, helping establish Methodist as a center of excellence through its patient-focused research program.   

Ginny Wilson Mounger, chairperson of the board, said, “Lyn is a wonderful leader and community servant.  She will be a tremendous asset to our mission to sustain and grow the life-changing research program at Methodist Rehab.”

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Since he started wheelchair fencing two years ago, Josh Russell of Mendenhall has had a lot of firsts.

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The place that would forever change Justin Howell’s life is as much a part of Pike County summers as heat and mosquitoes.

“Just about everybody from around here has been to the Bogue Chitto River at least once,” said the Summit native.

Above a popular swimming hole on the river, a rope swing dangles over a 20-foot embankment. It’s where a few seconds of thrill seeking left Howell paralyzed from the shoulders down.

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Methodist Orthotics & Prosthetics in Flowood had a mission: to assemble a team of athletes with disabilities and make a splash at the annual Endeavor Games.

Mission accomplished—Team Methodist O&P brought home 12 gold medals, four silver medals and a bronze at the event, which took place June 6-9 in Oklahoma City.

“Our goals were absolutely exceeded,” said Jennifer Long, a certified prosthetist who serves as the team’s leader.  “We went out there with the hopes of introducing some of them to sport and it opened up their eyes to a whole new world.”

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“Loss of confidence” isn’t an official symptom of Parkinson’s disease.

But for Barbara Jones of Smithdale, feeling “weak and helpless” was as much a part of Parkinson’s as her frequent and debilitating falls.

“I broke my knee cap, collar bone and busted my head open,” said the 67-year-old retiree.

The tumbles were related to muscle stiffness and unsteadiness associated with the neurological disease. And Jones had no clue how to prevent them.

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Boutonnieres aren’t usually worn for meetings of the Methodist Rehabilitation Center Board of Trustees.

But as the group recently gathered to recognize $1 million in cumulative giving to the Wilson Research Foundation at MRC, board members pinned on fresh rosebuds.

The gesture was a sentimental salute to the late Earl. R. Wilson, one of the founders of MRC and the patriarch of a family whose gifts totaling $1 million have helped sustain the foundation that bears his name.  

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The National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Alabama-Mississippi Chapter has selected Susan Geiger of Jackson as its 2012 Health Professional of the Year.

“I was pleasantly surprised to receive this very unexpected honor,” said Geiger, a physical therapist at Methodist Rehabilitation Center’s Outpatient Therapy Clinic in Flowood.

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It was a hazy February afternoon when 22-year-old Bryant Camp of Tupelo first tried out his new pair of legs. As he ran around a high school track that was still damp and glistening with rain, he flashed a smile as wide as the track was long.

That smile never left his face, even as he fell a first time, then a second. Each time, he picked himself up and kept running. Though he knew his new legs would take some getting used to, they were bringing him closer to his dream of becoming a Paralympic athlete.

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