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Spencer Gunn spent two touch-and-go months in a Memphis hospital after a brain-injuring aneurysm. But his wife Jacquelyn never lost hope he would get better.

“First, they had told me he only had a 2 percent chance to live. Then, when he left the ICU, they said he didn’t qualify to go to rehab,” she said. “They said he could either go to a nursing home or home. I told the doctors that I wasn’t going to leave the hospital until my husband gets some therapy.”

As she leads her students at Xpress Dance in Madison, Melanie Creek moves with grace and fluidity, the product of more than 30 years of practice.

But back in July, she was more like a wobbly toddler taking her first steps. “I couldn’t even walk straight,” she said. “It was really scary and very frustrating.”

Creek’s problem was a debilitating balance disorder. And the dancer credits physical therapist Susan Geiger for choreographing her comeback.

A $750,000 gift to the Wilson Research Foundation at Methodist Rehabilitation Center in Jackson will launch new robotics research and education initiatives at the Jackson hospital. 

The gift from Linda and Wirt Yerger III of Ridgeland will establish the Yerger NeuroRobotics Research Fund. The aim is to improve the application of robotic therapy for those who have suffered stroke, brain or spinal cord injuries.

You’ve just stumbled upon a man lying unconscious in the woods. He appears to have fallen from a tree stand. What do you do?

That question confronted participants of a recent Wilderness Medicine Seminar at Methodist Rehabilitation Center’s Flowood campus. And the answer was probably a surprise to some.

Rather than rushing to act, it’s best to size up the scene for threats to your own safety, advised seminar leader Dr. Philip Blount.

George Atchley of Ridgeland, Miss., is not the kind of guy who rushes into surgery.

He’s lived with a bum knee since he woke up 10 years ago with a burning sensation in the joint.

“The next morning it was completely numb, and it has been completely numb ever since,” said the retired planetarium director for Samford University in Birmingham, Ala.

Atchley might still be ignoring the problem, if not for some pain-related sleep deprivation.

As a 20-year veteran of law enforcement, Devie Freeman is used to closing cases.

But still open is the case of what exactly happened to him on the night of Aug. 22, 2016 at his Canton, Miss., residence.

“In the wee hours of the morning, around 3 a.m., apparently I was attempting to go downstairs—I’m assuming to get a bottle of water—and I fell down the stairs,” Freeman said. “Later, I was informed that my door was open and my alarm went off, so the police came to the apartment for the alarm call and they found me laying on the sofa and bleeding.”

In the summer of 2016, Dr. Edra Kimmel was living the hectic life of a popular obstetrician/gynecologist.

She had patients to see, babies to deliver and surgeries to perform. So when she began feeling achy and feverish, she refused to let a few flu symptoms slow her down.

“I was too busy to deal with anything,” she said. But a couple of weeks later, she had to cry uncle.

“I woke up with complete right facial paralysis, both legs were completely numb and my abdomen felt like a girdle of numbness,” she said.

The members of Jackson State University’s dance ensemble give each other nicknames to reflect who they are and what they’ve been through.

They call Martez Baldwin “Indestructibly Paid.”

“They say I’m indestructible because I’m not letting anything stop me,” Baldwin said. “And the paid part, they said that’s because I’ve paid my dues.”

Baldwin, 27, has lived most of his adult life under the shadow of lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease that attacks healthy cells in the body.

Tennis great Arthur Ashe said: “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”

That quote is displayed outside Ginny Boydston’s office at Methodist Rehabilitation Center in Jackson, Miss. And it’s a philosophy she’s followed since arriving at the Jackson hospital almost 40 years ago.

She started with a blank slate. Used every resource she could find. And accomplished what few might have imagined in Mississippi—the creation of a nationally recognized adaptive sports program at MRC.

As Sheila Burnham boarded a boat to go scuba diving in Belize, the Madison, Miss., resident could feel her fellow passengers doing double takes.

At the time, tourist destinations were hardly the domain of paraplegic wheelchair users.

“I was a novelty,” she said.

Today, she’s less of a spectacle as she hits the slopes in Colorado or hunts game in the wilds of Africa. Thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act, more people than ever see the sights from the seat of a wheelchair.

But traveling with a disability is still no roll in the park.