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MRC News

The place that would forever change Justin Howell’s life is as much a part of Pike County summers as heat and mosquitoes.

“Just about everybody from around here has been to the Bogue Chitto River at least once,” said the Summit native.

Above a popular swimming hole on the river, a rope swing dangles over a 20-foot embankment. It’s where a few seconds of thrill seeking left Howell paralyzed from the shoulders down.

Methodist Orthotics & Prosthetics in Flowood had a mission: to assemble a team of athletes with disabilities and make a splash at the annual Endeavor Games.

Mission accomplished—Team Methodist O&P brought home 12 gold medals, four silver medals and a bronze at the event, which took place June 6-9 in Oklahoma City.

“Our goals were absolutely exceeded,” said Jennifer Long, a certified prosthetist who serves as the team’s leader.  “We went out there with the hopes of introducing some of them to sport and it opened up their eyes to a whole new world.”

“Loss of confidence” isn’t an official symptom of Parkinson’s disease.

But for Barbara Jones of Smithdale, feeling “weak and helpless” was as much a part of Parkinson’s as her frequent and debilitating falls.

“I broke my knee cap, collar bone and busted my head open,” said the 67-year-old retiree.

The tumbles were related to muscle stiffness and unsteadiness associated with the neurological disease. And Jones had no clue how to prevent them.

Boutonnieres aren’t usually worn for meetings of the Methodist Rehabilitation Center Board of Trustees.

But as the group recently gathered to recognize $1 million in cumulative giving to the Wilson Research Foundation at MRC, board members pinned on fresh rosebuds.

The gesture was a sentimental salute to the late Earl. R. Wilson, one of the founders of MRC and the patriarch of a family whose gifts totaling $1 million have helped sustain the foundation that bears his name.  

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Alabama-Mississippi Chapter has selected Susan Geiger of Jackson as its 2012 Health Professional of the Year.

“I was pleasantly surprised to receive this very unexpected honor,” said Geiger, a physical therapist at Methodist Rehabilitation Center’s Outpatient Therapy Clinic in Flowood.

It was a hazy February afternoon when 22-year-old Bryant Camp of Tupelo first tried out his new pair of legs. As he ran around a high school track that was still damp and glistening with rain, he flashed a smile as wide as the track was long.

That smile never left his face, even as he fell a first time, then a second. Each time, he picked himself up and kept running. Though he knew his new legs would take some getting used to, they were bringing him closer to his dream of becoming a Paralympic athlete.

Keith Ferguson and Karen Skeen both know the fear and uncertainty of waking up in a hospital bed far from home.

Both suffered spinal cord injuries while traveling—Ferguson in Florida and Skeen in Mexico. And both chose Jackson’s Methodist Rehabilitation Center for their recovery.

Audrae Barnes got the heart-dropping news over the phone.

The transportation center for the Hattiesburg School District—his beloved workplace for nine years—had been hit hard by an F-4 tornado.

“One of my guys called me and said: ‘Boss, you’re going to have to get someplace else to work,’” said the director of transportation and fleet management for the district. “My office was an actual house trailer, and it was knocked off its foundation.”

As a grief counselor, Dr. Gladys Johnson has dedicated her life to helping people in times of crisis.

But on March 17, she found herself in a crisis of her own.

“I felt very weak on my right side, my hand didn’t work very well and I couldn’t walk well,” she said. “So I drove myself to the hospital and waited in the emergency room for 45 minutes.

“I should have just called an ambulance,” she adds with a laugh. “But at that point, I didn’t know if it was a stroke or what.”

FLOWOOD: The Wilson Research Foundation at Methodist Rehabilitation Center in Jackson will host its fourth annual Walk and Roll on Saturday, April 6 at 10 a.m. at the center’s east campus at One Layfair Drive in Flowood. The event honors past and present patients, current residents and raises funds for the Foundation to help discover ways to recover more abilities after a stroke, brain injury, spinal cord injury or loss of limb.