Helen Keller Hospital Parkinson’s program helping patients regain everyday skills

Published: Feb. 25, 2022 at 8:41 PM CST
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SHEFFIELD, Ala. (WAFF) - The Parkinson’s program at Helen Keller Hospital started last fall, but it is helping people like Bobby Bretheric get back to their favorite things.

“It really helped me. Probably saved my life. I didn’t give up,” said Bobby Bretheric. “I couldn’t get out of the bed, couldn’t get out of the car. My wife had to get me out of the recliner and I’d do anything now that I want to.”

Parkinson’s is a neurological disease that progressively attacks the nervous system, gradually depriving people of the ability to move freely and even speak.

“When you think of the word progressive disease, you don’t get to take a day off and so we are always working whether that’s physical therapy or speech therapy,” said Brianna Maherrey.

People like Patsy Johnson are putting in that work. She said this program gave her a fighting chance.

“It helped me in so many ways with things around the house that I wasn’t able to do before and I had to get other people to do for me and I can do them now,” Johnson.

From simple exercises to a speech therapy called “speak out” that’s specifically for people with Parkison’s.

The program is the only one in the shoals that offers all of these treatments under one roof.

“For us we have everything in one location and that’s really unique what we’re doing. When you think of the word progressive disease, you don’t get to take a day off and so we are always working,” said Maherrey.

“I wish more Parkison’s people had the advantages we have here. Everyone should have them,” said Johnson.

Giving people with a grave diagnosis a new lease on life.

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