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Patient Stories

As a national leader in rehabilitative care, Spaulding Rehabilitation helps patients find their strength every day. But it's the words and experiences of our patients that best describe what our services can really do.

Our patient stories provide a look inside the outstanding rehabilitative services available through our network of world-class providers. We invite you to read these compelling and unforgettable stories — and learn how our rehabilitative care has changed people's lives.

1 to 10 of 60
  • Patient Story

    Meet Erica | A Spaulding Registered Nurse

    Erica Foley, RN, is combining two of her passions in her current role as Nurse Educator at Spaulding Hospital Cambridge (SHC). After graduating from Boston University, Erica began her career as a teacher in the Brighton school system and later worked as a nanny. She had always been interested in the medical profession and enrolled in Simmons College where she graduated with a BSN. She started working in the Admissions office at SHC, then moved to a nursing position on 4 South, then onto Charge Nurse. Her professional path continuing to rise on a leadership tract, Erica was focused on the needs of floor nurses. What do new nurses need to do their jobs well? What challenges do they face? What can leadership do to help nurses succeed? Motivated by questions like these, Erica was encouraged by her manager to pursue a Master's degree through the Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) on-line degree program. Having investigated other advanced degree programs, she found that the SNHU program had more content that could be customized to her specific interests. The classes were applicable and focused specifically on her professional development tract. It wasn't going to be easy- it will take Erica about 2

  • Patient Story

    Meet Robert Lewis, Jr. | A Spaulding Story of Strength

    COVID-19 survivor and Spaulding patient Robert Lewis, Jr. shares his journey: from diagnosis with the novel coronavirus through his rehabilitation at Spaulding Hospital Cambridge—and what it means to him to be back at work at the community outreach organization he founded in Boston. My COVID-19 Recovery—As Told by Robert Lewis, Jr. I’m not sure how I expected to feel when I turned 60 years old last spring, but I didn’t anticipate a trip to the emergency department. I certainly didn’t expect to be sedated, intubated, and wake up 12 days later. But on March 22—my 60th birthday— that’s what happened. It was the beginning of my COVID-19 journey. It was an intense and frightening time. When I was moved to Spaulding Hospital Cambridge for rehabilitation after three weeks of acute care, I had to relearn…everything: how to breathe without an oxygen tank; how to walk; how to touch my nose and tie my sneakers. I had to get my strength back. What struck me about Spaulding was the incredible treatment that I—and my family—received from everyone there, from the moment I arrived until I walked out just one week later. There’s a culture of love and compassion and excellence that radiates from every person. Trust

  • Patient Story

    Patty: Celebrando la vida y el amor después de un derrame cerebral

    Read this story in English. Otoño 2022 Patty (sentada) en su renovación de votos con su esposa Dawn (segunda desde la izquierda) y su equipo de atención médica de Spaulding. Para Patty, su historia con Spaulding comenzó cuando una sesión de entrenamiento personal en el gimnasio se convirtió en una llamada al 911. Patty fue llevada de urgencia al hospital, donde los médicos determinaron que había sufrido un derrame cerebral hemorrágico que afectó todo su lado izquierdo. Ella vino a Spaulding Cape Cod para su compleja rehabilitación de meses de duración. "Mi equipo de Spaulding brindó a mí un estímulo increíble y una atención personalizada", dijo Patty. "Me salvaron la vida y mi salud mental". El equipo de atención de Patty hizo todo lo posible para tratar sus necesidades físicas y emocionales, realizando sesiones de terapia adicionales en los fines de semana, incluso trayendo gel para cabello para que Patty se sintiera más como ella misma. Ella también se benefició de equipos de vanguardia como el sistema de soporte de peso corporal ZeroG, que permite una terapia más avanzada sin el riesgo de caerse, lo que ayuda a Patty a recuperar su fuerza de forma segura. Como muchos de nuestros pacientes, Patty se consoló con la

  • Patient Story

    Meet Martha and the “Spaulding Sisters”

    The self-titled “Spaulding Sisters” made the most of 2020. The group of women met at Spaulding Boston over the past several years, bonding over their shared love of aquatic therapy. When the COVID-19 pandemic closed our community water fitness classes, the Sisters came together to support each other and their health in a whole new way. The ladies are avid participants in the Spaulding Adaptive Sports Program’s virtual classes (launched in response to the pandemic), “meeting” several times a week to exercise virtually together from the safety of their homes. They are among the more than 1,000 participants who have benefitted from virtual classes like yoga, boxing, exercise for stroke and TBI, dance with Parkinson’s, and more. In 2020, donations were used to pivot Spaulding adaptive sports programming to be entirely virtual—supporting the health and wellness of an even broader community, when so many were isolated and unable to participate in their regular fitness and community activities. Martha Starr, “Spaulding Sister,” patient, and volunteer, says the virtual programs have been a true lifesaver in 2020. And so have the Sisters’ weekly Friday Zoom calls to check in on one another. They share resources and coping strategies, discuss their conditions, and laugh together. Martha

  • Patient Story

    Meet Lauren and Tracey: From Rehab to the Finish Line

    Spring 2023 Watch this special story of a mother and daughter who both underwent outpatient rehabilitation therapy with Spaulding, and recently achieved an incredible feat — running the Boston Marathon on Spaulding's Race for Rehab Team. Their journey is a testament to the power of healing and perseverance. Join us in celebrating their

  • Patient Story

    Meet Ethan | A Spaulding Story of Strength

    Para leer esta historia en español, visite nuestra página en el Internet. Who was by your side when you achieved a major life goal? For Ethan Wang, it will be a community of family, friends, and caregivers cheering for him (virtually) as he walks at his Boston University graduation this year. It’s a significant milestone for Ethan, who sustained a spinal cord injury while studying abroad—paralyzing him from the neck down and derailing his junior year of college. In Bali in March 2019, Ethan was critically injured while swimming in the ocean. He needed immediate life-saving surgery, followed by a medical evacuation and more surgeries in Singapore, before he could return home to Massachusetts. Then came the long journey of rehabilitation. Our donor community has been with Ethan on this journey, too. Gifts to Spaulding provide resources and support to help patients like Ethan achieve their goals. “Our family’s main source of strength is the amazing support we have received,” says Ethan’s father, Willis. “There is so much strength in community, and that is what has helped us.” Paralysis caused by a spinal cord injury (SCI) is an intense, life-changing event. Ethan spent 148 days as an inpatient at Spaulding Boston, achieving a new physical milestone

  • Patient Story

    Meet Clifton: Surviving Stroke: There and Back Again

    Spring 2023 Life often comes full circle. Clifton Singletary’s Spaulding Rehabilitation story began while he was serving our patients. When he returned to Spaulding as a patient himself, his desire to give back grew stronger. Clifton’s first visit to Spaulding was in July 2013 to escort the Boston Pops as they performed for survivors of the Boston Marathon bombings. Clifton, a decorated Boston police officer, was invited to Spaulding in recognition of his service that day, when he helped load the wounded into ambulances. Clifton never imagined that he would return to Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston almost 10 years later, following a hemorrhagic stroke. Unable to walk on his own and struggling with post-stroke coordination, sensory, and cognitive symptoms, he found that his Spaulding team was determined to get him back on his feet. “This is beyond professionalism,” he says. “There’s a level of dedication the people have here that is beyond comprehension.” Spaulding’s personalized approach to care has Clifton not only walking again but inspired to return to the hospital to help others. Part of his efforts include participating in a research study testing a virtual reality–linked treadmill to improve gait performance for stroke survivors like himself. One in four people will have a

  • Patient Story

    Meet Bonnie

    Para leer esta historia en español, visite nuestra página en el Internet. Who was by your side when you celebrated a milestone? For Bonnie Sickorez of Mashpee, MA, it was her Spaulding Cape Cod care team, surrounding her as she looked out the window at her husband and children on her 58th birthday. Her physical therapist brought a cake, her kids had homemade signs, and it was a beautiful moment for Bonnie, who was recovering from a planned open-heart surgery—and an unexpected complication. A social worker and busy mom of seven kids (five of whom she adopted), Bonnie was walking five miles a day and living a full and active life early last year. Then a routine physical led to a series of follow-up evaluations, and eventually to an operating room. She had a grueling seven-hour open-heart surgery, but it was successful. And then she had two strokes. With complex pain and severe weakness on her right side due to the strokes, Bonnie knew her recovery would be longer than she expected. And she knew she needed to be at Spaulding Cape Cod. Spaulding’s donor community was there with her, too. Gifts to Spaulding Cape Cod provide resources and support to help patients like Bonnie get

  • Patient Story

    Together We Celebrate Spaulding Charlestown, 10 Years Later

    Spring 2023 From fragile first encounters to final goals achieved, rehabilitation is a team sport—and together we celebrate every milestone. This year our team marks a special milestone at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, which moved from our former neighborhood in Boston and opened at our new location in Charlestown 10 years ago in 2013. Since then, Spaulding has helped thousands of patients find their strength through their toughest moments. From recovering after the Boston Marathon bombings to a global pandemic that radically changed medicine as we know it, our commitment to our patients, their families, and the communities we serve has been unwavering. Together we celebrate: 10 years of compassionate clinical care and incredible recoveries 10 years of groundbreaking research and innovative treatments 10 years of disability rights advocacy through programs, partnerships, and universal design 10 years of training and educating future leaders in rehabilitation medicine Across Spaulding Rehabilitation, our goal is to help people get one day better, every day. And whatever triumphs and challenges await, our dedicated team will be there, with your support. Generous donors will help improve the quality of life for each person who comes through Spaulding’s doors in the decade ahead. Thank you for your

  • Patient Story

    Meet Nick

    Spring 2023 Nick’s Boston Marathon journey began 10 years ago when he was a freshman at Boston College. The day before the race, he was inspired to be on the start line and managed to secure a bib through a club on campus. The next day, he found himself on a school bus en route to the start line of the 2013 Boston Marathon, having never completed a run longer than six miles. Despite his lack of preparation, adrenaline carried Nick through the first 13 miles past the Wellesley Scream Tunnel. His run slowed to a power-walk on his way up Heartbreak Hill, but he was determined to reach his classmates on BC’s campus at Mile 21. The euphoric stretch of high-fives and cheers from fellow BC Eagles carried Nick through miles 20 and 22, and before he knew it, he was approaching the final mile into Copley Square. As he approached the final stretch on Boylston St., excitement quickly turned to confusion when he saw a cloud of smoke and heard what sounded like fireworks behind the finish line. Nick was only a few hundred feet from the second explosion before he was stopped in his tracks and curled up on