Seeing a child take his first steps after a traumatic injury is truly a miracle. In April of 2018, Kaleb came to the Pediatric Orthopedic Clinic at The Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital in Bethany, Oklahoma, from inpatient care in a Dallas hospital. He had been receiving treatment for extensive burns to his lower extremities, which were so severe that his right leg had been amputated and his left leg had significant scarring.
Kaleb’s foster dad, Bill Winslow, explained that because Kaleb had received his injuries traumatically, he was wary of new people in his life.
“Kaleb’s not exactly unwelcoming, but if he does not know you, he won’t necessarily be open to sharing any time with you. He’ll kind of shy away.”
This posed a challenge for Jenna Anderson, Physical Therapist at The Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital, who says, “Even tolerating touch from somebody else was really difficult for Kaleb, so we worked on just building that relationship and that trust to begin with, and then over time, he really turned a corner and began trying to do more stuff on his own.”
Jenna’s willingness to build Kaleb’s confidence and trust as he adjusted to his new prosthetic leg paid off. She was about to witness one of the many miracles that happen at The Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital.
It was just another day of therapy, but Jenna sensed that Kaleb was ready to take steps on his own for the first time, so she asked Bill’s wife, Megan, to record the next few moments of the therapy session.
Bill recalls, “I’m at work, and I get a text and it’s a video. And it’s not all that uncommon to receive those just to get some sort of progress report, but no context, it was just the video, and I hit play.”
Bill watched, with tears of joy, as Kaleb took his first steps on his new prosthetic leg on his own, encouraged by Jenna and cheered on by Megan.
“I’m crying in my office at work and never in my imagination would have thought that text would be a video of him taking steps,” Bill shares. “Just seeing how he interacts well with people that aren’t part of his family, which means he feels comfortable. That was probably one of the first things that I witnessed here.”
Watch the must-see video of Kaleb’s first steps.
Jenna is just one of the caring team members involved in Kaleb’s rehabilitation plan. The Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital is the only inpatient pediatric rehabilitation hospital in Oklahoma. The hospital uses a team approach to develop a specific plan of care for each patient, incorporating specialists, nurses, a variety of therapists, case workers and more to maximize the child’s potential and transition from hospital to home.
The hospital has recently completed construction of a state-of-the-art Adaptive Recreation and Fine Arts Center which houses facilities designed to help patients and their families with activities of daily living. Families use this safe space to practice everyday activities such as getting in and out of the car, adjusting to home spaces, getting on and off a school bus and eating in a restaurant setting. Mastering these skills prior to discharge helps patients and families build confidence and return home with renewed hope.
Megan and Bill appreciated knowing everyone involved in Kaleb’s care and feeling like the team was there to answer the many questions she and Bill had, as they all worked toward Kaleb’s successful rehabilitation.
Jenna finds her reward in every child’s success. “To be able to walk with him through the really hard parts to get to those moments where you’re like, ‘You just walked by yourself for the first time!’ That’s why you go into a profession like this.”
Your Giving Tuesday gift to The Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital will help provide the resources we need as we continue to support more families and children in need of specialized care. You can make more miracles happen for children like Kaleb. For more information and to donate, please visit https://miracleshappenhere.org/donate.