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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.

1 to 10 of 76
  • 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

    Tedy Bruschi's Stroke Story - Spaulding Rehab

    "I was there for Spaulding long before I knew I'd ever need them myself," Tedy says of his rehabilitation at Spaulding. "They are real champions. They made me whole again and got me back to the field." Long before he was ever a patient, Tedy Bruschi had visited patients at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, hailed their remarkable recoveries and signed autographs. But February 15, 2005, was different. Having just won his third Super Bowl and competed in his first Pro Bowl, Tedy Bruschi, the New England Patriots linebacker, developed a blood clot that caused him to suffer a mild stroke. His wife called 911, and Tedy was rushed to Massachusetts General Hospital. The team at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital also sprang into action, working with trainers from the Patriots on Tedy's rehabilitation plan. In collaboration with the Patriots' staff, the Spaulding team developed a physical therapy plan for Tedy that required hard work, perseverance and total commitment from Tedy, his doctors and his therapists. His rehabilitation inspired fans who longed for Tedy's return to the defensive squad. But more importantly, it inspired thousands of stroke survivors and rehab patients who facing similar obstacles. Tedy went on to have one of his best seasons ever following

  • 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 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

    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 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 Morgan

    Morgan Stickney says this thought got her through her hardest days. The 22-year-old began swimming competitively at a young age, and by 15 was ranked top 20 in the country. But one day, Morgan’s left foot started hurting during practice—setting in motion years of specialist visits, debilitating pain, and ultimately a diagnosis of a rare genetic condition and a below-knee amputation of her left leg. Undeterred, she got back in the pool, moving to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs with dreams of the Paralympics. Then her right foot fractured. Morgan turned to Spaulding to get back to the activities and life she loves—and thanks to her care team and programs supported by donors, she has. She became the first double Ewing amputee in 2019—an innovative procedure that reconnects muscles and nerves, allowing the residual leg to interact with leading-edge prosthetics. A self-described “stubborn and competitive person,” Morgan rehabbed at Spaulding after each procedure, learning how to walk and do everyday tasks on her new prosthetic limbs. Spaulding’s mission includes a commitment to improving quality of life. We do that through direct patient care, teaching and research, advocacy efforts, and innovative programming. We help people get their lives back from a wide spectrum

  • Patient Story

    Meredith's Story - Paralysis - Spaulding Rehab

    On May 30, 2015, Meredith awoke from a haze of anesthesia to a new reality. She had undergone eight hours of extensive surgery during which several titanium rods, screws and a steel cage were implanted in her body to realign her spine. It was her 25th birthday. 24 hours earlier, Meredith was an active, independent woman who ran half-marathons, danced in a ballet company and volunteered as an EMT on a rescue squad in Vermont. She was helping friends move into a new apartment when a piano accidentally fell directly on top of her, paralyzing her from the waist down. Finding herself in an unfamiliar role - needing to be rescued, she managed to maintain her composure and figure out what she needed to do to get safely to the hospital. After spending a week in the surgical intensive care and inpatient units of the acute care hospital, Meredith was stable enough to be admitted to Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital to begin her journey of recovery. When Meredith first came to Spaulding, she was almost completely dependent on others. She couldn't roll over in bed, sit up, get dressed, stand or shower unassisted. She had minimal feeling in her legs. Meredith worked with many

  • Patient Story

    Conozca a Lola

    Read this story in English. Otoño 2021 Era la primera nevada de la temporada y Lola Remy estaba cómoda en casa bebiendo un chocolate caliente haitiano casero y con una lista de compras para hacer en la internet. Al final del día, ella, una abogada e instructora de acondicionamiento físico de 40 años estaría en el hospital sufriendo convulsiones por un derrame cerebral. Lola en terapia usando una máquina Lokomat. Después de seis convulsiones, Lola se despertó con un tubo de alimentación y un casco, le extrajeron una parte del cráneo durante una cirugía cerebral de emergencia. Necesitaría volver a aprender a tragar, hablar y caminar. Su primera prueba se produjo cuando salió de los cuidados intensivos para el Spaulding en Cambridge y se le pidieron que se sentara durante 20 minutos, lo que la fanática del acondicionamiento físico llamó de "lo más difícil que ya paso en su vida ". Lola hizo un excelente progreso en Cambridge y continuó mejorando al ser transferida a Spaulding Boston. Cuando finalmente llegó su fecha de alta, estaba emocionada pero aprensiva. El personal proporcionó sesiones virtuales con su familia para ayudar a todos a prepararse para el regreso de Lola a casa. “El personal de Spaulding es increíble”, dijo Lola.

  • Patient Story

    Meet Lola

    Leer esta historia en español. Fall 2021 It was the first snowfall of the season, and Lola Remy was cozy at home with a homemade Haitian hot cocoa and a list of online shopping to do. By the end of the day, the 40-year-old lawyer and fitness instructor would be in the hospital experiencing seizures from a stroke. Lola using a Lokomat machine. After six seizures, Lola woke up with a feeding tube and helmet, a piece of her skull removed during emergency brain surgery. She would need to relearn how to swallow, talk, and walk. Her first test came when she moved from acute care to Spaulding Cambridge and was asked to sit up for 20 minutes, which the fitness fanatic called “the hardest thing ever.” Lola made excellent progress in Cambridge and continued to improve upon transfer to Spaulding Boston. When her discharge date finally arrived, she was excited but apprehensive. Staff facilitated virtual sessions with her family to help everyone prepare for Lola to return home. “The Spaulding staff is so amazing,” says Lola. “They start out as strangers, but offer such incredible care, compassion, and kindness. I hope every day that I’m contributing to the world in the way that they are.” With ongoing