Patient Story: “I Want To Walk At Graduation”

| Patient Stories

Celine Rollins is a sunny, 16-year-old senior at Leland & Gray High School. She loves horseback riding and skiing. Her smile and her giggle are infectious. She simply lights up a room when she enters.

Celine also has cerebral palsy, a chronic condition that affects communication between the brain and the muscles. To bring her muscles and joints into alignment, she wears leg braces that extend from below the knee to her foot. She also uses forearm crutches when walking. As Celine explains, “There are a lot of muscles that don’t work for me.”

For the past ten years, Celine has been receiving physical therapy (PT) at Grace Cottage Rehabilitation Services. At the young age of six, Celine was nervous about starting PT because, like many people, she did not know what to expect. But Celine found a warm, welcoming environment at Grace Cottage Rehab. Over the years, Celine reports, the Grace Cottage Rehab Team has become “like my second family. I think of everybody [at Grace Cottage Rehab] as family.”

Several years ago, Celine set a goal for herself: “I want to walk at graduation without my crutches. I have wanted this since 6th grade.” When she first started PT at Grace Cottage, Celine needed to use a posture walker to walk. Posture walkers are designed to be used in reverse to improve body alignment and maximize the opportunity to walk. “Five years ago, I could not even get up by myself or walk without my braces. And now I can walk without my braces and it’s amazing!” says Celine. “I can do 30 steps without my braces, 65 steps with my braces, and 25 outside. I could not even walk outside or stand up before.”

When asked what makes PT at Grace Cottage special, Celine thought for a moment, and then answered, “They are interested in me as a person and what’s going on in my life. Siobhan, Pam, and Patty all work together to help me achieve my goal.”

In the beginning, Celine’s PT focused on stretching and flexibility to address the stiffness in her muscles. Now, the focus is on strengthening her muscles and helping her meet her goal.   “I don’t know how close I am to achieving my goal, but I am going to keep working on it,” says Celine. “I am focused on my goal for my senior year. I will only be in high school once and want to make the best of it.”