RSS Stay updated. Subscribe to our RSS feed.
Stories That Move You.

From The Grand Rapids Press – Sunday, January 11, 2015
CLICK the newspaper pages to see larger version and open in new window.

Bookmark and Share

Pretty Faces – The Story of a Skier Girl – Trailer from Unicorn Picnic Productions on Vimeo.

The new documentary, “Pretty Faces: The Story of a Skier Girl,” isn’t about the photogenic qualities of the ladies who pursue extreme winter sports. Rather, it’s a celebration of the passion and skill that drives some women to push boundaries and seek greatness on the rocky faces of snow-covered mountains.

“Pretty Faces” – which has been touring North America since September 2014 – makes its Grand Rapids’ debut on Saturday, January 10, at Wealthy Theatre, 1130 Wealthy St. SE. The screening is part of a benefit for the Summer Journeys Scholarship Fund to “inspire and promote girls in skiing and outdoor adventure.”

Doors open at 7 p.m. for pre-film festivities, including a benefit ski raffle for cool prizes donated by local businesses and sponsors. Tickets for the event are $10-$12. In keeping with our commitment to health and safety, folks from Mary Free Bed also will be on site to fit and give away a limited number of helmets.

Screen Shot 2015-01-08 at 10.25.16 AM

Staying Safe While on the Slopes (or Ice)

Whether you ski, snowboard, sled, ice skate or play hockey, don’t forget to strap on a fitted helmet before taking part in the wintertime fun. If a fall or other accident occurs, know the signs of a sports-related concussion.

According to Stephen C. Bloom, D.O., Medical Director of Mary Free Bed’s Brain Injury and Sports Concussion Programs, symptoms of concussion include:

  • Irritability
  • Nausea (with or without vomiting)
  • Blurred vision
  • Feeling foggy
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Changes in sleeping patterns or appetite

Most people – 90% – don’t lose consciousness with a sports concussion. And nearly half of athletes don’t report any symptoms.

Every concussion is …

Bookmark and Share

From The Grand Rapids Press - Sunday, January 4, 2015
CLICK the newspaper pages to see larger version and open in new window.


Bookmark and Share


By Beth Loechler Cranson, Mary Free Bed Communications and Media Relations

Thanks to a donation from the Ella Bullis Foundation, all the pediatric patients at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital will continue to receive a stuffed dog or bear during their rehabilitation stay.

Ron Bullis, founder of the Grand Rapids-based Ella Bullis Foundation, was on hand to oversee the Dec. 23 delivery of about 100 stuffed animals. This is the first-time gift from his foundation, created in 2009 to honor the memory of his daughter who was born prematurely and only lived for 18 days.

The stuffed animals aren’t new to Mary Free Bed, however. They come from Bedside Healers, a Michigan-based company. Each one has a strap so the animal can be attached to a wheelchair, bed post or even a child’s wrist.

And the donation came just in time, said Mary Free Bed’s inpatient office assistant Linda Boyatt. “I was down to just one bear.”

In addition to a stuffed animal, Mary Free Bed endeavors to supply each pediatric patient with a fleece blanket made by the Mary Free Bed Junior Guild and a Mylar balloon.


“The bears are a fun thing and they build camaraderie among the patients,” said Boyatt.

The Bullis Foundation was venturing into new territory with this donation, Bullis said. Most often, it pays expenses incurred by parents with children who are hospitalized for long periods of time. The foundation has assisted families in more than a dozen states.

“It is challenging and very rewarding work,” said Bullis, who runs a financial services firm.

A fall fundraising event at the Kent County Conservation League generated the $1,500 the foundation paid for the stuffed animals.

Bookmark and Share

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


Bookmark and Share

By Tricia Boot, Mary Free Bed Web Specialist

Pinterest-worthy desserts, parties, travel. The holidays can be an indulgent, festive and stressful affair. It’s essentially the perfect storm for weight gain. While we can resolve to lose those pounds in the New Year, it’s much easier – and healthier – to keep the weight off in the first place.

Given the temptations – honestly: who can resist a no-bake cookie? – it doesn’t hurt to bring in positive reinforcements. At Mary Free Bed, our Wellness team has partnered with healthcare provider, Priority Health, to sponsor a “Hold it for the Holidays” challenge.

This voluntary initiative, which kicked off in mid-November, encourages employees to get through the year’s end without gaining more than one pound. Participants, like me, attend periodic weigh-ins, receive weekly tips/encouragement and are eligible for prizes when we meet goals.

The accountability and competiveness have helped me to stay (mostly) focused on healthy habits, even as the days fill with too-good-to-resist treats (e.g. Reese’s peanut butter trees).

Don’t have the benefit of an organized initiative? Here’s a few weight management tips to help you through the season:

1. Establish goals – Set clearly-defined and attainable benchmarks, like “stick within two pounds of my current weight.” This can help you stay on track and motivated to succeed. (Source: Good Housekeeping)

2. Have a game plan – Write down the steps you’ll take to reach your goals. And yup – it helps to be specific here, too. For example, you could commit to packing a healthy lunch for 4 out of 5 work days, or signing up for a once-a-week Pilates class. Re-review and re-adjust your “road map to success” on a regular basis. (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

3. Stay hydrated – Given our brutal, and often …

Bookmark and Share

Rebekah and Marion

Guest Blog by Rebekah Karel, Mary Free Bed alumni

It is with a sad heart to inform you that my recent roommate at Mary Free Bed, Miss Marion, went to be with her Lord and Savior at 9pm on December 5, 2014. While I only roomed with her for a short seven days, I feel honored to have spent that time with her. There are those people in life that you just seem to “click” with, and Miss Marion was one of those people for me. We could chat and laugh for hours, or simply sit in silence – it always felt natural.

Miss Marion was one of those people who anyone could feel comfortable around. She was a woman unlike any I have known. She truly embodied the grace, kindness, and peace of her beloved Jesus Christ. We connected immediately over the fact that she was my grandmother’s Sunday school teacher back in the 1940s, and we continued to get closer as each day passed. When I left Mary Free Bed we made it a point to call each other nearly every day. What I admired most about Miss Marion is that she always saw the best in a person. She would tell me stories of her past, and she would talk about those in her stories only in a positive manner. She never gossiped.

I asked Miss Marion one day what advice she had for me after 100 years of life, and she said “Kiddo, it all comes down to trusting and obeying the Lord.” The faith that she had was just incredible to witness. I miss her dearly, but I know that she is in heaven where she so desired to go. I will finish with this funny story of …

Bookmark and Share
Bookmark and Share

John and Ann Cameron

Even though they haven’t ever needed rehabilitation services for themselves, John and Ann Cameron have been advocates and supporters of Mary Free Bed for 30 years.

They were introduced to Mary Free Bed when their toddler daughter, Clara, who was born with cerebral palsy, needed a brace for her right leg. Since then, John has been a board member and outside legal counsel for Mary Free Bed. He and Ann also have made regular contributions to the Foundation’s expansion and renovation project and have encouraged others to do the same.

Currently, John is chair of the Mary Free Bed Orthotics & Prosthetics Board. And since her first visit, Clara has learned to drive at Mary Free Bed. She also volunteered here when she was a teenager. Despite the fact that her right arm doesn’t function, she excelled as a pitcher on the girls’ fast-pitch softball team at East Grand Rapids High School, where she graduated near the top of her class.

Now 32, Clara has two advanced degrees and a career with Homeland Security. “To me, it’s pretty simple,” John says of his commitment to Mary Free Bed. “We provide rehabilitative care for people at critical times, when lives may be falling apart. We help put those lives back together. In many instances, it’s miraculous. To contribute to that in a small way is very rewarding. It’s a real privilege.”

Bookmark and Share

From the Grand Rapids Press - Sunday, November 23, 2014
CLICK the newspaper page to see larger version and open in new window.
CLICK HERE to read the press release on


Bookmark and Share

Older Posts »