March 23, 2012
High school senior embodies the spirit of Methodist Rehabilitation Center's Walk & Roll event
By Carey Miller
Health and Research News Service
Michael Shelby of Mendenhall made a promise to his caregivers when he came to Methodist Rehabilitation Center after suffering a broken neck on Feb. 9, 2011.
“I was told after I got out of surgery that I would never ever walk again—I would never move again, probably,” Shelby said.
But he came to Methodist intent to “prove everybody wrong.”
“I said I’m going to do something you’ve never seen before,” he said. “I told them I was going to walk out of there.”
And despite his initial diagnosis, the now 17-year-old high school senior made good on his promise with a miraculous recovery after a month-long stay at Methodist Rehab.
“Sure enough, the day I got discharged—it was hard and my walking wasn’t good—but I got to walk out of there,” Shelby said.
Now Shelby wants to give back to the center by participating in the Walk & Roll for Research, a fundraiser event to be hosted by MRC’s Wilson Research Foundation on March 31.
“This will be our third annual Walk & Roll, and we expect a great turnout,” said Chris Blount, director of the foundation.
Shelby will not only walk in the event to raise pledge money to help the foundation reach its goal of $50,000, but he’s also dedicated his senior project at Mendenhall High School to it.
“When I found out I had to do a senior project, I knew I wanted to do it on physical therapy,” Shelby said. “And I knew it had to be with Methodist, because I had a great experience there. I know a lot of the people, I know how they work, and it’s a great facility.”
Shelby asked his physical therapist Ann Howard to serve as his mentor for the project.
“I was talking to Ann about needing a tangible product for my project to raise money,” Shelby said. “She told me about the Walk & Roll. I thought that would be a lot cooler, to be able to participate and help out."
Participants can support the Walk & Roll in one of two ways, by either sponsoring a fundraiser with a secure, tax-deductible gift, or by becoming a fundraiser and seeking sponsorships.
“Registration is easy at www.wilsonfoundation.org, and we encourage everyone who has ever been touched by Methodist Rehab Center to be a part of this event,” Blount said.
The event is for walkers and rollers (those in wheelchairs) and will be held at the center’s east campus in Flowood off Layfair Drive, utilizing the Mirror Lake paved walking trail.
“Proceeds will benefit our wonderful research program that has published more than 200 peer-reviewed studies and helped countless patients overcome a disabling illness or injury,” Blount said.
The Walk & Roll, Blount explained, “celebrates abilities recovered by past and present Methodist Rehab patients.”
And though he’s just one of Methodist’s success stories, Shelby’s incredible recovery is certainly worthy of celebration.
“I am considered now to be back at about 90 percent,” Shelby said. “When I went up to Methodist over spring break I talked to Dr. Dobrivoje Stokic (MRC’s administrative director for research), and he was like, in all the years he’s been working he’s never seen anybody recover the way that I have.”
Michael Shelby of Mendenhall is assisted by his physical therapist Ann Howard on Methodist Rehab's weight-supporting treadmill system in this photo from March 2011.