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

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

Sometimes you find a great friend when you least expect it…

Bookmark and Share

From the Grand Rapids Press - Sunday, June 15, 2014
CLICK the newspaper pages to see larger version and open in new window.


Bookmark and Share


Ed Spoelma has three words of advice for anyone who hunts from a tree stand: Wear your harness.

Three years ago, Ed was hunting from a tree stand near Remus, Mich. when he fell 20 feet, breaking his sternum and back. He suffered permanent nerve damage and now has two rods in his back.

“I wasn’t expected to walk again,” says Ed, who is now 63 and lives in Hudsonville. “I tell everybody that Mary Free Bed made me walk. Mary Free Bed made me the person I am today.”

Ed lauds the dedicated nurses at Mary Free Bed for taking care of his every need and managing his pain. The doctors and therapists encouraged and inspired him.

“I started getting better and better. Pretty soon I had a walker. I left Mary Free Bed after about two weeks. Basically, I took my walker and walked out to the car to go home,” Ed says.

Ed continues to work at Premier Granite and Stone where he creates templates for stone cutters. He returns to Mary Free Bed for regular check-ups with Dr. Sam Ho, director of the Spinal Cord Injury Program.

And he still hunts – although not from a tree stand.

Ed says he still has his mobility because he works hard to stay active. “Every day is a blessing for me,” he says.

Bookmark and Share

Pam Hands

Sepsis survivor and Mary Free Bed alumna Pam Buschle received her new hands on Monday, October 27, 2014. The following are links to stories from local Grand Rapids media on the fitting and happiness that came from the day! Congratulations again go to Pam and the amazing strides she has made in the last year.

FOX 17 – New robotic hands changing West Michigan woman’s life

Grand Rapids Press – $100,000 robotic hands: ‘This feels more natural,’ sepsis survivor, amputee says

WOOD 8 – Quadruple amputee gets high-tech prosthetic hands

Bookmark and Share

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 …

Bookmark and Share

Older Posts »