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Stories That Move You.


Guest Blog by Joyce Manning, Mary Free Bed alumni

I broke my wrist on March 28, 2014. It was a bad break and required extensive surgery. I am now the proud owner of a plate and 10 screws and may set off the metal detector at airports.
Before this happened, a group of friends and I planned a trip to New York City to celebrate our 70th birthdays. We have known each other for more than 50 years and thought it would be a fun trip. I was not sure if I would be able to go so I checked with my doctor. He said I might have to wear a brace but he did not see any reason to cancel the trip.

Therapy for my wrist started on April 28th at the Mary Free Bed Hand Clinic on the East Beltline. My goal was to be independent enough to travel to New York City with my friends. The therapy became my part-time job. Through the support and encouragement of therapists, I gradually regained functionality in my fingers and my independence grew. A week before our scheduled trip, my doctor said I was clinically healed and no longer would have to wear a brace.

I told my therapist I would be taking a week off because my friends and I were taking a trip to New York City to celebrate the fact that we were turning 70 this year. We were going to try to get on the Today Show or Good Morning America and our plan was to wear matching shirts. The therapist suggested we wear bright green Mary Free Bed t-shirts.

So, we did wear the Mary Free Bed shirts to the Good Morning America show and were interviewed on TV. We really stood …

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Oksana Parmenter was eight years old before she realized that people in wheelchairs could do more than simply sit around and watch the world go by. Born with spina bifida and raised in a Lithuanian orphanage, Oksana was told she’d never play basketball or swim in a pool. But then Jan and Bill Parmenter adopted Oksana and brought her home to Pierson, Mich.

Soon thereafter, she participated in her first Junior Wheelchair Sports Camp at Grand Valley State University. “Sports camp made me more confident, outgoing … and competitive,” said Oksana, who spoke recently at the annual golf outing to benefit the Wheelchair and Adaptive Sports program at Mary Free Bed. Oksana is now 16 years old and plays varsity basketball for the Jr. Pacers wheelchair basketball team.

She’s also on the honor roll at Tri-County High School and was Miss Wheelchair Michigan in 2013. “Sports camp helped me learn that I’m not the only one in the world with this disability,” she told the golfers. “I have learned to live life to the fullest and not to let my disability hold me back.” Oksana is pictured above with her family at the annual MFB Sports Golf Outing.

The Junior Wheelchair Sports Camp will be held July 28th-August 1, 2014 at Grand Valley State University.

View pictures from the 2013 sports camp.

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After a fateful night in March that landed him at Mary Free Bed – and in the headlines – 24-year-old Osman Koroma is back at work and looking forward to returning to Grand Rapids Community College this fall. “Ozzie,” who lost his sight due to cataracts at the age of 14, was hit by a car on March 19. His guide dog, Gala, was killed in the accident but likely saved her owner’s life.

Ozzie suffered a brain injury and a broken leg and spent more than a week in an intensive care unit before coming to Mary Free Bed. Since he became a Mary Free Bed graduate in late April, Ozzie has been receiving physical, occupational and recreation therapy through Mary Free Bed’s Home and Community Services program.

He recently was cleared to begin putting weight on his healing leg and hopes to ditch his walker sometime soon. “I’m back in the swing of things,” he said from his office at Opportunities Unlimited for the Blind, where he works as assistant camp director and media specialist.

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From the Grand Rapids Press - Sunday, July 13, 2014


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Orrin S. Hole in One amputee

Our congrats to Orrin Schroeder – way to go!

A recent below-the-knee amputee, 67-year-old Orrin came to Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital to be fitted for a prosthetic leg and receive outpatient therapy. On May 19, a little more than a month after he received his prosthesis, Orrin shot a hole-in-one on hole 16 at Crestview Golf Club!

Best wishes for future successes, Orrin. You serve as an inspiration to other amputees.


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Mary Free Bed CEO Kent Riddle talks about our culture and doctors in his monthly June video blog. This video starts off a series that explores each of our own doctors and how they can help assist you in the rehabilitation process.
When you need rehabilitation, #AskForMary.

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From the Grand Rapids Press - Sunday, June 8, 2014


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MFB-MSU Announcement

Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital and Michigan State University College of Human Medicine are joining together to transform Mary Free Bed into a research and teaching hospital. This collaboration sets the stage for cutting-edge research and evidence-based medicine to improve the lives of patients and encourage more medical school students to focus on physical rehabilitation.

Mary Free Bed CEO Kent Riddle and MSU College of Human Medicine Dean Marsha D. Rappley, M.D., announced the affiliation agreement today. They touted its potential to bring more top-notch researchers and research grants to Grand Rapids and to take Mary Free Bed’s best practices to the next level.

“Combining MSU’s research expertise with Mary Free Bed’s outstanding clinical operation will create a powerful partnership that can translate into even better outcomes for rehabilitation patients,” Rappley said. “It also adds Mary Free Bed physicians to our faculty, giving them greater access to the most current literature and bringing their knowledge and expertise directly into the medical school.”

The partnership means Mary Free Bed will expand its patient-centered focus to include an emphasis on research and innovation.

“As Mary Free Bed expands, we’ll also be growing our leadership role in the industry,” said Riddle. “We’re adding a research component because research is the backbone of innovation. And, we will immediately expand the number of rotations, enabling medical students to get hands-on experience in the field of rehabilitative care.”

The John F. Butzer Center for Research & Innovation will be headed by Dr. John Butzer, who will step down from his role as chief medical officer at the rehabilitation hospital, a post he has held for 29 years.

“By collaborating on research and education, we improve …

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