After Sam Lane Jr. of Jackson suffered a severe brain injury, family friend Katy Houston hatched a plan to “feed him back to health.”

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When Bill Meador began transforming his Hickory farm into a hunter’s paradise, he built one shooting house with a wheelchair ramp.

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There’s a vacant lot where her home once stood, so holiday homecomings will be bittersweet for Gladys Berry Jenkins of Anguilla this year.

Still, the nurse and mother of five was counting her blessings as she recently readied to leave Methodist Rehabilitation Center in Jackson.

After almost a month in hospitals, she would finally be in the company of her youngest kids—Timia, 11, and Adrienne, 5. And it’s a precious gift considering what the three have been through.

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Mendenhall High School senior Michael Shelby, like others in the graduating class of 2012, walked across the school’s football field to receive his diploma on the night of May 14.

Granted, high school graduation is a joyous occasion—a remarkable milestone, a life-changing event to be remembered. But for Shelby, it was much more than that.

What made Shelby’s graduation exceptional is a simple act many take for granted. He did what just a little over a year ago he was told he might never do again—he walked.

“Going to Walk Out of There”

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Its burgundy cover is battered, and handwritten notes fill the margins of its well-worn pages.

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Ten years later, Charlie Gibbs of Clinton still thinks: What are the odds?

“One of 200,000 mosquitoes bites me,” he says. And within days, he can’t move his arms or legs.

Doctors aren’t sure what to make of Gibbs’ mysterious symptoms. They check for heart attack, stroke and even the relatively rare Guillain-Barré Syndrome.

Then a blood test reveals the true villain—a tiny mosquito bearing a terrifying virus.

“I was the first person infected with West Nile virus (WNV) in Mississippi,” Gibbs says. “Aren’t I lucky?”

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London was the first taste of the sheer magnitude of the Paralympics for Methodist Rehab wheelchair fencers Ryan Estep and Joey Brinson.
And now they’re both counting the days until the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

“It was a blast just to be there,” Brinson said.  “It made me feel like all the work I had put in was worth it, just to make it there and be able to compete. And it really made me want to get ready for the next one. I’m ready now. I wish we could go do it right now.”

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It has been a record-breaking year for West Nile virus infections, but Crystal Walley doesn’t need newspaper headlines to warn her of the ravages of the mosquito-borne disease.

Reminders are all around her Wayne County home. There’s the power wheelchair parked in her dining room. The physical therapy appointments on her calendar. Even the fuschia-colored Jeep in the driveway.

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On a particularly hot afternoon in late September, Shaquille Vance stood on the Madison-Ridgeland Academy track surrounded by a crowd of adoring middle schoolers.

They were clamoring to have his autograph emblazoned on the veritable rainbow of running shoes they held aloft.

At that moment, to those children, he was the biggest superstar in the world.

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Methodist Rehabilitation Center will present a free seminar on relieving back pain at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 18 at Embassy Suites in Ridgeland.

Seminar speakers will be pain management expert Dr. Bruce Hirshman of Jackson and physical therapist Joe Jacobson of Madison. The two will discuss the everyday causes of back pain, common myths about back pain and the most effective treatments.

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