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news News Monday, April 2, 2018 Monday, April 2, 2018 2:46 PM - Monday, April 2, 2018 2:46 PM

Generations of care

Mom and son born without arms share Shriners Hospitals for Children experience

Generations of care

When Linda, 39, thinks back on her time as a patient at Shriners Hospitals for Children, what stands out is the way the staff treated her like family. Linda was born without arms and was seen by the orthopaedic physicians at the Chicago Shriners Hospital for more than 10 years. After Linda married Richard Bannon, the two had a son, Tim, who was also born without arms. Fortunately, Linda knew exactly where to take her son for expert medical care for his condition, that would help him lead a happy life of independence.

Tim, now 12 years old, has received rehabilitation services at the Chicago Shriners Hospital since he was an infant. His occupational therapist, Kate Nikolai, has worked with him to increase his level of independence. Tim uses his feet to eat, write, open doors and even play piano. Kate also works closely with engineering students at nearby Northwestern University to design equipment that will assist patients with day-to-day functions. Together, the team came up with a device to help Tim use the washroom and button his pants without assistance. “The Northwestern students were all very motivated and helpful when designing their devices,” said Linda. “They all worked very well with Tim.”

Tim is quick to point out that he can accomplish many tasks on his own, including putting on his shoes or zipping his backpack. He simply does so a little differently, relying on his feet, mouth and adaptive equipment to accomplish his goals.

The Chicago Shriners Hospital has helped give Tim confidence to do things on his own, and he enjoys speaking to audiences about what he’s learned and been able to accomplish. He has shared his story at several Shriners Hospital events and even starred in a national commercial for the hospital.

The staff members of the Chicago Shriners Hospital are proud of all Linda and Tim have accomplished, and of the way they inspire others.

If you know a child who could benefit from rehabilitation services at the Chicago Shriners Hospital, please have their parent or guardian call 773-385-KIDS.

This article originally appeared in the Winter 2015-2016 issue of Leaders In Care, our Shriners Hospitals for Children quarterly magazine.