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 hobbies. Dan wrote them down, then smiled and said, “No problem, Tim, those seem reasonable to me.” Tim wanted to cry in disbelief, but one year later, he had accomplished all those goals.
“My life is restored not only to where it was before my stroke, but it has exceeded that place,” says Tim. “Because now I have more compassion, and more desire to help others on their journeys of recovery.”
Tim completed the 2021 Boston Marathon on Spaulding’s Race for Rehab team, exceeding his fundraising goal by 28% and representing Spaulding and fellow patients with pride on race day.
October 13, 2021 was the one-year anniversary of Tim’s final outpatient therapy session – and two days earlier on October 11, he ran the Boston Marathon for Spaulding’s Race for Rehab team. As he says, “This feels like the most fitting way for me to pay forward all that I’ve received. I can’t think of a better thank you gift for all those who assisted me along the way than running this race for them, proving that dedication can reap big rewards.” He has enjoyed meeting new people through the Race for Rehab team, and says that while training for a marathon is a grind, it helps knowing they’re all doing it for the right reasons – and doing it together, a true team.
“I didn’t think I’d ever be able to run again,” says Tim. “So to run the Boston Marathon, and to do it in support of the hospital that gave me my life back – I can’t think of a better way to say thank you.”
Imagine the Possibilities
At a time when scientific advancements can help make the impossible possible, an investment in rehabilitation medicine has never been more necessary — or more promising.
Your gift to Spaulding can make a real difference... starting now.