In September, representatives of the Children's of Alabama, UAB Division of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine and the Lakeshore Foundation 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 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 services available at Children's at Lakeshore.
Children's at Lakeshore represents a bridge between the Children's 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.
"Children's, from a medical standpoint, allowed me to be my best self," said Gardner, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 13 months of age. "Children's is where I learned how to sit up. Children's is where we found out about surgeries that would help me walk better. I learned exercises and stretches that I can do to help my body be the best that it could be. 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.
"If Children's and Lakeshore could have impacted my life as much as they have by being separate, imagine how much more both of you can do now partnering together. The influence is unimaginable and the result of the children coming out of these organizations is unstoppable."