Esther D.

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Esther standing in a purple dress on the stairs of the theater

Esther D. has had severe osteoporosis, and eight years ago sought treatment at Heinz Rehab in Wilkes-Barre. She had broken bones, including her ankle, and had a steel plate screwed into it, that allowed her to stand and receive therapy.

Esther took part in physical therapy with Mark Rowan in Heinz’s Sports and Spine Center and Kelly Martin-Johnson for the arthritis program. “I experienced an excellent recovery,” says Esther. “I had no limp at all. Mark and Kelly were amazing, as was Diane, the physical therapist in the pool.” The pool was very helpful to Esther. It gave her more range of motion. She’s been swimming at Heinz Rehab for the eight years she’s been a patient.

During the eight years she was in therapy, Esther suffered more broken bones. Then she developed Parkinson’s Disease, which complicated everything. Now Esther’s therapy included LSVT Big and Loud, as part of Allied’s Parkinson’s program.

“Roz Rowan is a very excellent therapist,” says Esther. “She had me doing things I never thought I could do. I no longer need my cane at my house or at a meeting. When I go out I take it for balance, but that is it.”

Esther states firmly, “I am absolutely more independent than I would have been without therapy. Even major cities don’t’ have programs like Heinz has. I was able to take advantage of ongoing programs, new outpatient programs. I hope to continue to participate even when I’m no longer a patient.”

Esther’s future plans include more swimming, more physical therapy and exercise for Parkinson’s and arthritis. When in California, Esther took Tai Chi and really loved it. She plans on taking another class through Heinz. Twice a week Esther takes ballroom dance classes with two instructors. The female instructor demonstrates with the male, then Esther dances the same steps with him.

“The most important thing is for people in Northeastern Pennsylvania to know Allied and Heinz exist. Even people in big cities don’t have resources like them,” says Esther. “Anything you are challenged by you can learn to cope with through therapy. The most important gift you can give anyone is hope. And Heinz gives that to people. They gave it to me.”