BMN Blog

SEP 25
Children’s at Lakeshore collaborative marks new day in patient care

On Sept. 6, representatives of Children’s of Alabama, the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Division of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine and the Lakeshore Foundation gathered to cut the ceremonial red ribbon for the grand opening of Children’s at Lakeshore – the latest chapter in a partnership among the institutions.

 

Children’s at Lakeshore, located on the world-renowned Lakeshore Foundation campus, provides UAB physician care and Children’s physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech-language pathology services to children and adolescents with acute onset or chronically disabling conditions. By combining a medically-based model of care and community-based healthy living and transitional services, Children’s at Lakeshore is designed to help each child achieve their highest level of independence. Referrals to Children’s at Lakeshore are made primarily by UAB physicians following an inpatient rehabilitation stay or clinic appointment, and based on the potential patient benefit from the specific services available at Children’s at Lakeshore.

 

The ribbon cutting ceremony represents dreams realized by Children’s, UAB and Lakeshore Foundation after years of brainstorming and asking ourselves how we could best serve the needs of children not only in Alabama, but also the region, the country and the world. Children’s at Lakeshore represents a bridge between our medical rehabilitation model and Lakeshore Foundation’s strong reputation in the world of sports, fitness and recreation, with the additional commitment to expanding the pediatric footprint via the UAB/Lakeshore Research Collaborative. Children’s at Lakeshore is only steps away from wheelchair basketball practice and after-school recreation classes in Lakeshore’s Fieldhouse, and swim lessons and teen swim club in the Aquatics Center.

 

Savannah Gardner, a former Children’s patient and Lakeshore athlete who went on to play wheelchair basketball at the University of Alabama and win a national championship, spoke at ribbon cutting and shared with guests how Children’s and Lakeshore have impacted her life. Diagnosed at 13 months of age with cerebral palsy, Gardner’s story captures the mission of our partnership:

 

“Children’s, from a medical standpoint, allowed me to be my best self. Children’s is where I learned how to sit up. Children’s is where we found out about surgeries upon surgeries that would help me be able to walk better. I learned exercises and stretches and things that I can do to help my body be the best that it could be physically. It’s where I learned to engage my core and use a lot of the muscles that I was able to strengthen once I started playing wheelchair basketball. Lakeshore gave me the opportunity to just be a kid and not a kid that had to be in therapy. As I got older, it was Lakeshore that fostered the competitive spirit in me.

 

“Children’s being on Lakeshore’s campus is so important. The kids that come to Children’s need to be able to look out the windows, up to the top of hill and see Lakeshore and say, ‘That’s my goal.’ They need to know that just because life may look different because of an accident or a disability, it’s not over. If they were athletes before, they need to know they can be athletes again. If they were independent before, they need to know that they can learn skills to be independent again. If they have goals of college or a career, they need to know that there’s a facility that can help them reach those goals. Lakeshore was the first place where I realized that somebody with a disability and somebody without a disability can work together and look the same to the rest of the world, but still be independent and confident in their differences.

 

And when the kids go from Children’s to Lakeshore, they need to be able to look out the windows of Lakeshore and say, ‘There’s my future. There’s my goal for college. There’s my goal for a career.’

If Children’s and Lakeshore could have impacted my life as much as they have by being separate, imagine how much more the both of you can do now partnering here together. The influence is unimaginable and the result of the children coming out of these organizations is unstoppable.”

 

For more information, visit childrensal.org/childrens-at-lakeshore.

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