During the month of October every year, Physical Therapy Care & Aquatic Rehab celebrates National Physical Therapy Month by issuing a Fitness Challenge. Patients and their families are invited to join a team to see if they can log more miles that their therapist.
This October of 2017, John Hutton, Jr., a nine-year old wheelchair patient at the clinic has taken up that challenge and has declared that he is going to win. His grandmother Cheryl Jackson (Granny) is also convinced that they will win and claims it will be a landslide victory.
“Our goal is to get our patients involved in more than rehab. We want them to open their world to exercise outside of therapy and to experience the joy that activity brings,” said Dr. Marlene King, John’s therapist.
The program logs activity in miles or minutes daily for the month of October and the teams are divided into Therapists, Adults and Pediatrics. Winners for first through third places will receive a gift card from Academy.
So far John is showing the most heart and determination. When he is at the clinic there are no excuses allowed and he has to work hard.
“It took until he was 3 ½ years old for us to get an accurate diagnosis of John’s condition,” explained Granny. “We found this clinic by the grace of God and we’ve been coming here for six years. He’s content. He knows everyone here and he loves Ms. Marlene. Although we had to move into Houston to be near the Texas Medical Center, we won’t give up this clinic.”
“The spirit of this challenge is to incorporate daily exercise in our schedules and John is our best ambassador for this,” laughed Patti Kocich, President of Physical Therapy Care & Aquatic Rehab of Fort Bend. “We also want to spread this healthy lifestyle to our patients’ families and the greater community and we are excited that John’s family is competing.”
John’s world has opened up to multiple styles of exercise to include karate, baseball and organized 5K walks. However the experience that he loved the most was working out with retired professional football player, Joe Anderson, arranged by WeSeeAbilities.org. During the one-on-one session, John prepared for serious effort by first stripping to his undershirt and then declaring “I’m ready”.
When he goes home from therapy, he does his exercises and Granny works out with him. “I can’t sit on the couch while he is working,” she laughs. “I expect him to work hard and so I work hard too. He is in pain all the time so how can I complain if I have an ache? We are a team and we are going to do whatever it takes to win this.”
John’s discipline and work ethic are paying off. “When he first got into the pool here, John looked like a frog. Now he swims like a fish!” Granny says proudly. “He spins his wheelchair and sometimes he goes too fast. People who don’t know him tend to get worried but I say don’t worry till I worry.”
John’s joyful nature shines through and raises spirits everywhere he goes. “God allowed John to be special and this is his journey: He will walk,” predicts Granny. “I also want him to spread his wings and soar because he has greatness in him.”
Everyone is cheering for Team John and so far it looks like he’s right – he will win and it will be a landslide.