PAPPAS REHABILITATION HOSPITAL FOR CHILDREN ACHIEVEMENTS
Lets catch up with Lars and the students and staff of Massachusetts Hospital School as he blogs about day 5 at Disney Animal Kingdom, Florida. He writes…
To each and every one of you, the caregivers and providers and staff at MHS!
Way, way back, in 1993, at the ripe old age of 1 ½ years old, Danielle began attending the EBC program on the grounds of MHS (the other driveway). She stayed there until 3 when our town took over. In just a few short years, at age 7, in 1999, Danielle came back to MHS,(the main driveway), and began attending the Brayton School. Within the first six months of becoming a student there, the PT department had made good on promise I made to my daughter at the age of 4, when she asked me “Mom, when can I ride a bike?” Caught off guard and not really knowing the exact words to say, I replied ‘soon’. Well, she rode a bike, and I cried such tears of happiness! That was just the beginning of all the things MHS taught my daughter. You didn’t do it alone, it took a lot of hard work on Danielle’s part, and a lot of creativity in rehab engineering, but in the end, she learned how to live and to thrive, and together we parented her into the lovely young lady she is today.
In 2004 at the age of 12 and after 4 years at MHS, Danielle came home from her day program at MHS and said, ‘Mom, I want to become a resident!’ I said, okay, we’ll apply. Shortly thereafter she came to the top of the list and became a resident in May. It was the hardest thing I ever did, leaving her to live somewhere else, at such a young age – all with a feeling of guilt and with family and friends doubting what I was doing. Well it turns out that was the single best decision I ever made in my life. She has thrived under your wings, and the burden of being a single parent doing the best I could was made so much easier.
Fast forward, 10 years later, and we’re now graduated and just moved out a week ago. I couldn’t leave without letting you all know how important and how special you are to both me and Danielle, and to thank you for all you’ve done. So, for anyone and everyone (because you are all too many to name individually) who had a part in Danielle getting into a stander, learning to drive a specialized motorized wheelchair developed just for her, to learn to ride a bike and walk on a treadmill; for teaching her how to use a computer with a head mouse-and with a stylus, for affording her the ability to scratch her nose and feed herself, to peel a potato; for teaching her to read, to tell time and do basic math – for her education and life skills; for letting her experience karaoke and bowling, windsurfing and skiing, for working with her to develop speech and to swallow safely, for teaching her everything about her medications and when to take them, for letting her experience horseback riding, swimming, summer camp, relaxation techniques, reiki; for cleaning her glasses and for just plain listening; for taking care of her medical needs, her dental needs, her orthopedic, vision, gastro and neurology appointments; for teaching her how to grieve and to cope with her feelings of sadness, and all her other feelings; for affording her the time and place to develop and nuture friendships that will be with her long into life, for her wonderful trip to Disney, a trip she will never forget nor the people that cared for her and lifted her onto every single ride; and for helping at her endless IEP meetings; for doing all her banking, for finding MFP and a safe, beautiful new place to live. You’ve all seen me revel in what Danielle has learned and done and accomplished; you’ve all seen me cry with joy and sadness, and you’ve all comforted me and worked with me to provide the best parenting skills I am capable of. Most important are the hugs and softly spoken words of reassurance and encouragement many of you provided to Danielle when I wasn’t there to comfort her, or when she just needed a motherly touch. For all of this and so much more, I am eternally grateful to you all.
MHS is a wonderful hospital which provides a wonderful home, a wonderful school, and a wonderful caring, loving, and fun place for all children in need of this specialized care. I will always be thankful for all you have done, for all you continue to do, and I will always be a very strong supporter and advocate of MHS.
My sincerest and heartfelt thanks,
Sonya (Danielle’s Mom)
We want to thank you and your staff for a wonderful six years at MHS for Kerianne. She learned a lot, became more independent and made so many friends. Her social life was so full, thanks to the wonderful Rec staff. She loved living on Ellis and Gates and received great care and therapy from therapists and staff.
We appreciate your staff even more now that Kerianne has left MHS and is living at a new house. Case management and RED were very efficient and tended to Keri’s needs quickly. Patient advocacy was essential too!
We will miss everyone.. Keep up the great work that you all do
Kerriane and family