Helen Keller Hospital’s Parkinson’s Program Helps Patients Regain Life Skills

SHEFFIELD, Ala. (WAFF) – Helen Keller Hospital’s Parkinson’s program started last fall, but it’s helping people like Bobby Bretheric get back to their favorite activities.

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

Parkinson’s disease 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 can’t take a day off, and so we’re still working, whether it’s physiotherapy or speech therapy,” Brianna Maherrey said.

People like Patsy Johnson do that job. She said this program gave her a fighting chance.

“It has helped me in many ways with things at home that I was not able to do before and I had to ask other people to do it for me and I can do them now,” Johnson said.

From simple exercises to a speech therapy called “talking” which is specifically for people with Parkinson’s disease.

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 place and it’s really unique what we do. When you think of the word progressive disease, you can’t take a day off, so we’re still working,” Maherrey said.

“I wish more Parkison employees would enjoy the benefits we have here. Everyone should have it,” Johnson said.

Giving people with a serious diagnosis a new breath of life.

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Ryan H. Bowman