Woman with Spinal Cord Injury Balances Business with Motherhood
Molly Keegan of Easton, Md., embraces life – and her children – after sustaining a spinal cord injury.
Still conscious and strapped into her driver’s-side seat belt, upside down under a caved-in roof, Molly Keegan, 41, had one thought: Her children. All three of them were in the backseat. Thankfully, all three were uninjured.
For Molly, however, the July 18, 2013, car crash resulted in a spinal cord injury and quadriplegia.
“It took a while for me to get over the shock of how little I could do for myself,” she says. “But the physical and occupational therapy at Shepherd Center helped immensely. We focused on small victories and that really helped me move forward.”
The Easton community, on the eastern shore of Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay, rallied around Molly’s family, too.
“The letters of support meant so much,” Molly says. “It’s amazing how a personal card could be the difference between a sad day and a positive day.”
Back at home, Molly has learned to adapt – and thrive. She is working again, this time from home. A behavior analyst with a master’s degree in applied behavior analysis, Molly started her own company a decade ago. Learning Together, LLC, designs individualized therapy plans to improve the quality of life for children with autism and related disorders.
“My staff and my sister were amazing in taking on extra responsibilities to keep the company running smoothly,” Molly says. “I am so thankful that I am able to continue helping children learn and thrive.’
Recent tendon transfer surgery on her triceps muscles has enabled Molly to have more relative motion, including the ability to open doors and, best of all, reach down and hug her kids.
“That was huge,” Molly says. “To be able to actively hold them, that was the best outcome of all.”
Especially during her first six months back home, Molly says it was her children – Wylie, 8, Finley, 6, and Piper, 3 – who lifted her spirits. “They did not miss a beat and just saw me as their mom,” she recalls. “They would find creative ways for me to participate in what they were doing. Nothing was impossible to them and they helped me develop a similar spirit.”
Written by Phillip Jordan
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 neuromuscular 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 900 inpatients, 575 day program patients and more than 7,100 outpatients each year.