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Dear Physical Therapists, You Are Appreciated

Dear physical therapists,

Happy National Physical Therapist Month! Let me introduce myself. My name is Kelcie Laube, I’m from Eugene, Oregon and I have athetoid cerebral palsy. I started going to the Eugene chapter of OHSU’s Child Development and Rehabilitation Center when I was 18 days old for their feeding clinic. As an infant, I had no clue that CDRC would be a major part of my life for the 17 years that followed — so much so that it became a second home to me and my family.

I remember how the building has changed over the years and I remember the therapists that came and went during my time there. My earliest memories there are in the old big gym room. I remember working on the long brown box-shaped swing, working on balance and back muscles. I was recently doing an exercise and recognized the feeling of it. A little later, I realized it was a balance exercise I did on an exercise ball for a long time in therapy. CDRC holds a lot of memories for me, and some of my milestones happened there.

I remember a good amount of my time in physical therapy, but let me tell you more about what happened in that time. My mom had a typical pregnancy, but her uterus ruptured during labor and I was left without oxygen. Doctors performed an emergency C-section and were able to save me, but I was nearly dead. My parents were told I would live a bare minimum life — no walking, talking or responding to certain sounds. For many years I did just about everything that could be therapeutic, including ice skating. My parents decided early on that I was not going to be limited based on other people’s opinions and assumptions.

Jumping ahead to the present, I have the ability to walk and talk. I work as a contemporary dancer with a professional dance company. I work at a local summer camp. I’m a good photographer, I’m a published author, and I’m going to college with a short term goal of getting my associates in Animal Science. My ending goal is to get a degree in Equine Therapy. I’ve walked independently and can go a fairly long distance without falling. I’ve overcome many obstacles and I’m just starting my life as an adult.

Physical therapists, your treatments sometimes hurt, but you’ve helped us get to where we are today, and for that, we say thank you. You are truly impacting lives on a daily basis. That child crying or maybe even screaming at you because they don’t want to do something will probably come to appreciate what you did for them someday.

So again, thank you for all you do for your clients. You are appreciated, and happy National Physical Therapist Month!

Getty image by Katarzyna Bialasiewicz.