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Patient Stories

As a national leader in rehabilitative care, Spaulding Rehabilitation Network 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.

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  • Patient Story

    Meet Tim: From Stroke Survivor to Marathon Runner

    Winter 2022 In October 2019, Tim Rafferty entered the gym, like he did most days. An active lifestyle was core to who he was — he loved running, snowboarding, bike riding and CrossFit. But that day at the gym, his life would change forever. Tim experienced a hemorrhagic stroke that resulted in paralysis of his left side. He was rushed to acute care, where the prognosis was grim. He was told it was unlikely he’d ever regain movement in his left side. It was a heartbreaking time for the 36-year-old and his family. But then Tim was admitted to Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, where he met Dan, Elise and Pauline – three people he would spend the next year of his life with. People who would restore Tim’s hope and help him achieve previously unimaginable goals. “They were with me every step of the way,” Tim says. “Seeing other patients working so hard to achieve their goals, and seeing the clinicians matching that effort, made me inspired and determined in my own recovery.” After his time as an inpatient at Spaulding, Tim was walking very cautiously and slowly, with a cane for support. He told Dan about his goal to return to his active lifestyle, listing his favorite

  • Patient Story

    Meet Sarah: Honoring Mom with a Marathon

    Spring 2022 Sarah Taft decided to run the 126th Boston Marathon on Spaulding’s Race for Rehab team for one main reason: to honor her mother, Terry. After contracting a viral brain infection in the fall of 2019, Terry spent six weeks inpatient at Spaulding Boston. The virus had significantly impaired her motor function, memory and comprehension; however, members of her Spaulding care team were determined to find ways to bring Terry back. While Sarah was never a runner before this year, her mother completed three Boston Marathons before having four kids. Early in Terry’s time at Spaulding, she was struggling to engage with her care team and become active again. Sarah remembers one day when Terry’s physical therapist, Gauge, persisted in chatting with an unresponsive Terry. Gauge commented on Terry’s sneakers, a blue pair of Brooks that she had been wearing for years, and how he heard they were a great brand to run in. All of a sudden, Terry perked up and said, “Well, I ran three marathons, did you know that?” Gauge was then able to use this interest to keep motivating Terry through her recovery. “My mom always told me that you have to stop focusing on the little stuff and

  • Patient Story

    Sandrick: Encontrando esperanza en Spaulding

    Read this story in English. Otoño 2022 Sandrick (sentado), rodeado de su familia y equipo de atención médica. La historia de Sandrick con Spaulding comenzó cuando una celebración familiar en Montreal se convirtió en tragedia. Mientras se dirigían a casa después de una fiesta de cumpleaños, Sandrick, con sus 14 años, y su familia estuvieron trágicamente involucrados en un tiroteo sin sentido. Una bala atingió el abdomen de Sandrick y se alojó en su espalda, paralizando al adolescente y dañando su riñón, bazo y pulmones. El pasó semanas en cuidados intensivos en Canadá y en el Massachusetts General Hospital antes de venir a Spaulding para su rehabilitación. Sandrick se dedicó a su rutina de rehabilitación. Con la ayuda de aparatos ortopédicos especializados y equipos de rehabilitación de vanguardia como el sistema de soporte de peso corporal ZeroG, los proveedores podrían colocar a Sandrick en una posición de pie durante parte de sus sesiones de terapia, mejorando su progreso en volver a aprender a caminar. "El personal de Spaulding fue excepcional", dijo su padre, Ricardo. "Sandrick ha progresado mucho". Ahora tiene movilidad en sus piernas y sueña con volver a jugar al baloncesto. Como muchos de nuestros pacientes, Sandrick y su familia se consolaron con la compasión

  • Patient Story

    Sandrick: Finding Hope at Spaulding

    Leer esta historia en español. Fall 2022 Sandrick (seated), surrounded by his family and care team. Sandrick’s Spaulding story began when a family celebration in Montreal turned into tragedy. While on their way home from a birthday party, 14-year-old Sandrick and his family were tragically involved in a senseless drive-by shooting. A bullet hit Sandrick’s abdomen and lodged in his back, paralyzing the teen and damaging his kidney, spleen, and lungs. He spent weeks in critical care in Canada and at Mass General for Children before coming to Spaulding for his rehabilitation. Sandrick dedicated himself to his rehab routine. With the help of specialized braces and leading-edge rehabilitation equipment, clinicians could place Sandrick in a standing position for part of his therapy sessions — enhancing his progress in relearning to walk. “The Spaulding staff was exceptional,” says his father, Ricardo. “Sandrick has made so much progress.” He now has mobility in his legs and dreams of playing basketball again. Like many of our patients, Sandrick and his family took comfort in the compassion and skill of the Spaulding care team — and in the resources available to him during his recovery. Donations help Spaulding make investments to better serve our patients — investments in the newest rehabilitation

  • 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

    Meet Priya: Finding Strength Again with Spaulding

    Fall 2023 | Oct 19, 2023 Priya Greene was on her second round of in vitro fertilization in 2019 when she developed severe pancreatitis and was rushed to the emergency room. She needed extensive surgery and spent five weeks in the ICU. Priya was so weakened that she couldn’t lift her feet from her bed. No one knew if she would be able to live independently. It was a terrifying time for Priya and her husband, Rodney. Priya came to Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital Cambridge determined to regain her strength and her life. At first, a small victory was standing up for a minute. Priya’s care team of occupational and physical therapists focused on building her endurance — and a month later, stood by cheering as Priya climbed to the top of multiple flights of stairs. Priya and her care team brought purpose to one another, trading stories of shared interests — including her registered dietician’s love of running. “I lived vicariously through Ginny’s training runs. It kept me excited,” says Priya. She credits her care team’s strength as playing a critical role in her recovery. Now Priya plans to run a half marathon with Ginny next year, to pay it forward by raising

  • Patient Story

    Meet Pierce

    Para leer esta historia en español, visite nuestra página en el Internet. Who was by your side when you achieved a major goal? For Pierce Scroggins, it was his Spaulding physical therapist Eric, who ran with Pierce as he completed a 5K race in his hometown of Pembroke, MA. It was an important milestone for 25-year-old Pierce, who had lost all ability to move, speak, or eat just two years before. Our donor community was with Pierce, too. Gifts to Spaulding provides resources and support to help patients like Pierce achieve their goals. In 2018, just after Pierce graduated college with a mechanical engineering degree, a severe headache uncovered an extremely rare, cancerous tumor at his brain stem. He spent the next eight months in hospitals, including Spaulding Cambridge and Boston, undergoing multiple brain surgeries and chemotherapy. Pierce was determined to get better. He relearned to walk. He went home. And then the cancer came back. Suddenly, Pierce had a new goal: get strong enough to receive a life-saving bone marrow transplant and subsequent proton radiation. He achieved that critical milestone with the help of his Spaulding outpatient therapy team and then began the work to get back to his pre-cancer activities. “In addition to running a

  • Patient Story

    Meet Paul G: Turning Fear to Hope

    Fall 2023 | Oct 19, 2023 When Paul Gentile felt faint and nauseated on a hike with his wife in Bourne in 2019, it started a chain of events that led to a heart procedure and a recovery at Spaulding Rehabilitation Cape Cod. Paul was scared, confused, and worried about the impact his condition would have on his life. But he knew he was in the best place at Spaulding. His clinical team focused on helping Paul regain his strength — and also his confidence. When he first arrived, Paul couldn’t maneuver himself to get out of bed. His physical therapist, Jillian, worked with him each day to build his strength and coordinate his movements. It was a milestone for them both when Paul could sit up by himself. “It’s the little things that you take for granted that matter so much,” he says. Paul deeply appreciates Spaulding Cape Cod’s role in his recovery. With the help of his team he quickly progressed, both physically and emotionally, until his fear turned to hope. Now Paul volunteers weekly at Spaulding Cape Cod, conducting surveys and bringing joy to patients with his beloved English Cocker Spaniel, Ellie, a certified Canine Good Citizen. He’s also working with

  • Patient Story

    Meet Paul C: Sharing His Strength

    Fall 2023 | Oct 19, 2023 Navigating a critical illness or injury gives you perspective — and often, healing is buoyed by having a strong sense of purpose. Last fall, Paul Callahan needed surgery to address pressure sores that were not healing with the typical protocols for a person living with quadriplegia. He turned to Spaulding Rehabilitation Nursing and Therapy Center Brighton for his extensive recovery. Paul was highly motivated to complete the healing process — and get back to his role running a therapeutic sailing program that serves more than 1,000 children and adults with disabilities. “Although I had some idea of what to expect, it hit home when I came to Spaulding to attain the goal of physical healing, it would take a significant amount of mental fortitude, too,” Paul says. “Spaulding’s caring, knowledgeable, and compassionate team was a critical factor in accomplishing my goal.” It took 10 weeks of bed rest, highly responsive care, and therapeutic rehabilitation to get Paul back to his power wheelchair again — and most important to him, back to his role helping others in the disabled community. He credits the Spaulding team for bolstering his spirits through the dreary winter months on bed rest and for

  • 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