Shepherd Center Foundation and Recreation Therapy Department Co-Host “Thrills and Skills for Life”
Visitors to Shepherd Center on April 18 saw one of the hospital’s biggest programs — Recreation Therapy — in action.
The expo featured guest speaker and former patient Duane Morrow sharing his personal story of how Shepherd Center and specifically the Recreation Therapy Program and the sports teams impacted his life after his rugby injury.
The event offered live demonstrations on some of the hospital’s sports and recreational activities, including wheelchair rugby, hand cycling, riflery, scuba diving and water skiing. Art therapy, golfing, fencing and mono snow skiing exhibits were also featured.
“We wanted to host an event that would educate the community on a special program that is an important part of Shepherd Center’s continuum of care,” says Ansley Martin, major and planned gifts officer for the Shepherd Center Foundation. “This was a fun way to teach the community about Recreation Therapy and how vital it is to the recovery of our patients.”
Shepherd’s Recreation Therapy Program helps patients get back into the community by taking them on outings, teaching leisure skills and developing other skills needed in everyday life. With 24 recreational therapists on staff, it’s the largest program of its kind in the country.
“We help them do things they did before, but we also open their eyes to other opportunities and perhaps expose them to things they may never have done,” says Kelly Edens, manager of recreation therapy. “We build their skills and establish a routine before they leave the hospital.”
The Recreation Therapy Program costs $1.6 million annually to operate and is one of the Foundation’s top funding priorities for 2013. The expo was a creative way to raise awareness and hopefully donor support.
“This program goes beyond traditional therapy,” Ansley says. “When patients participate in Shepherd’s Recreation Therapy Program, they realize they will return to an active and fulfilling life.”
Shepherd Center, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, spine and chronic pain, and other neurological conditions. Founded in 1975, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation. In its more than four decades, Shepherd Center has grown from a six-bed rehabilitation unit to a world-renowned, 152-bed hospital that treats more than 740 inpatients, nearly 280 day program patients and more than 7,100 outpatients each year in more than 46,000 visits.