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Stories That Move You.

Pam Buschle G.R.I.T. 1

“G-R-I-T, that is what I have in me,” chanted the students at Challenger Elementary in Kentwood as they prepared for a 2.6-mile trek around school property on Friday afternoon.

The children were fired up after attending a school assembly, “It Takes Grit to Run the Marathon of Life,” which featured Pam Buschle, more commonly known as “Mrs. Buschle” around the school, where she has been a social worker for more than two decades.

“You can overcome any challenge. You can stretch your brain to do anything if you don’t fear failing,” she told the students.

She should know.

Pam emerged the winner in a battle with sepsis last December, but she lost her arms and legs in the fight. She now walks on two prosthetic legs and will soon sport a pair of high-tech hands to help her resume the life she lived before quadruple amputations.

She wore one electronic hand during her speech and demonstrated how she has learned to pick up a can of soda, shake someone’s hand and give a high five. It took months and months of hard work and therapy at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital to learn these and other basic skills, she said.

Pam Buschle G.R.I.T. 4

Then she told the students a story about a recent encounter with a stranger who offered to help her get comfortably seated near a table. Pam welcomed the assistance.

“She said to me, ‘I feel sad about what happened to you. It looks like it would be really hard. And then this person started to cry,” Pam told the students.

“I’ll bet many of you felt sad for me. You may have thought about how hard it would be not to have hands and …

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From the Grand Rapids Press - Sunday, September 12, 2014
CLICK the newspaper pages to see larger version and open in new window.


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“New camera day” is a special day because, at least for me, it represents the culmination of a lot of hard work. If you are a serious storyteller, then investing in a camera system requires thought, planning, renting, testing, and being honest with yourself about what you truly need. And because of the price associated with production gear, “new camera days” can be (and probably should be) few and far between. They are cause for celebration…a celebration of the stories they will help make possible.

GH4 Gear Unboxing 1

I’m excited to share a few photos of Mary Free Bed’s recent Panasonic Lumix GH4 unboxing and to talk a bit about why we decided to move in this direction. For the past few years, the Panasonic HPX250 and the Canon EOS 7D have been my video and stills workhorses, respectively. As our main video camera, the HPX250 has great ergonomics and I like this style of shooter very much…professional XLR audio inputs, built in ND filters, waveforms, zebras, a robust AVC-Intra codec, 10 bit-4:2:2 color space, a nice 1080P image…it’s a great, all-in-one-box solution. The only issue IMO is that its tiny sensor makes for a very “TV News-like” video image. And I want to get more cinematic.

GH4 Gear Unboxing 4

Released in 2009, the 7D was Canon’s flagship APS-C sized sensor camera body (until the 7D Mark II was announced at Photokina this past September) The vast majority of Mary Free Bed stills are shot on this camera and I have also been using it on a good deal of video shoots too. When you put good glass in front of the 7D’s sensor and …

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Guest Blog by Becca Willis, wife of Mary Free Bed alumni

On September 25, 2013, Adam Willis had a life-changing accident on a mountain bike trail. He went over his handlebars and hit the ground head first. His neck was snapped back and he sustained a spinal cord injury. Without his helmet, he would have probably had a brain injury as well. Immediately, he could not move from the neck down. He never lost consciousness and he laid face down in the dirt aware of everything while a friend called 911 for help and tried to direct EMT to the remote trails. He spent 5 days in the ICU and had surgery to fuse several of his vertebrae back together, but only more time would tell how much damage was done to his spinal cord.

Even within the first few days after his accident, he was showing good signs. He could will his toes to wiggle. He could move his shoulders. He could flex his leg muscles. It took 9 days after his accident, but he began to be able to slightly move his fingers. Throughout the next 7 weeks as he worked through his rehabilitation at Mary Free Bed, progress was made at a rate that surprised many.

He walked out of Mary Free Bed at his time of release. At his 3 month appointment, his surgeon even asked him, “How does it feel to be a miracle?”

Adam poses next to the ramp in which he had his mountain bike accident.

Adam poses next to the ramp in which he had his mountain bike accident.

His body has not recovered fully to where it once was – and it likely never will. But he knows that he has been given an …

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From October 2014 issue of Grand Rapids Magazine

Congrats to volunteer and athlete Patrick Besta on making the list! :)



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For the first time in the history of ArtPrize, visitors with limited mobility will have free access to wheelchairs.

Thanks to support from the Mary Free Bed Guild, home medical equipment suppliers Airway Oxygen Inc. and, of course, ArtPrize, at least 10 wheelchairs will be available for the duration of ArtPrize, which begins September 24 and will conclude October 12.

The wheelchairs and instructions on their use will be issued from the ArtPrize Hub (all you need is a photo I.D.), 41 Sheldon Blvd., SE., in downtown Grand Rapids.

Also for the first time, a 1.2 mile route (Accessart Path) has been specially curated for visitors who experience differences in mobility. Additional information about the pathway will be available at the ArtPrize Hub.


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From the Grand Rapids Press - Sunday, September 14, 2014
CLICK the newspaper pages to see larger version and open in new window.








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Dr. Bloom poses with Olympic Snowboarder Kevin Pierce who has suffered a traumatic brain injury. Pierce was the keynote speaker at the conference.

Dr. Bloom poses with Olympic Snowboarder Kevin Pierce who has suffered a traumatic brain injury. Pierce was the keynote speaker at the conference.

Stephen C. Boom, D.O., was elected to the Board of Directors of the Michigan Brain Injury Provider Counsel during the Brain Injury Association of Michigan’s annual meeting in Lansing in early September.

The MBIPC is a national leader in maintaining and developing best practices for treating people with brain injuries. Dr. Bloom, Medical Director of the Brain Injury Program at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital, has been a member of the Mary Free Bed staff for 20 years.

“I’m eager to help lead physicians in the areas of advocacy and development of brain injury programs with our partners in the Mary Free Bed Network, legislators and the Coalition Protecting Auto No-Fault, among others,” Bloom said. “This appointment will also help bring the Mary Free Bed expertise in brain injury systems of care to the state level to help coordinate care for all of our patients.”

The Brain Injury Association of Michigan is the largest organization and conference dedicated to brain injury in the entire world, Bloom said. “It is a critical and exciting time to coordinate care for our brain injury survivors statewide. I’m very excited to be a part of it.”

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From the Grand Rapids Press - Sunday, September 14, 2014


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