Shane Sumlin and his family asked themselves what they could do at a point in time to help others, and today they are able to both share their story and pay it forward.
In 2011, Shane became paralyzed from Guillain-Barré syndrome – an extremely rare disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks its nervous system. The prognosis was not good and he was wheelchair-bound with a daunting path ahead. Then Shane found the rehabilitation clinic in the School of Allied Health Professions at LSU Health Shreveport. Three and a half years later, the progress is amazing.
“You keep coming, your family and the people here encourage you, the equipment gets upgraded, and you push the envelope of what medicine believes you can achieve.”
Shane has used almost every piece of equipment in the rehab clinic to re-learn how to walk, including the recently installed Vector Gait & Safety System that provides a more effective and safer way for patients to regain mobility. Philanthropic funds made it possible to bring this customized technology to LSU Health Shreveport. When the Sumlins saw other patients take their first steps in ten years while in the Vector, “we knew we had to make a donation of our own. It takes money, it does, and that’s life.”
Shane surprised and inspired a room full of fellow patients, area physical therapists, and supporters on July 14th when he harnessed into the Vector System and ran for the first time since his paralysis.
There is more work ahead for Shane, and he is in the next phase of strength training. During his weekly visits to the clinic, Shane looks at the Vector and knows the impact it will have for others in the months to come. Combined with the unique staff and state-of-the-art facility in which it stands, this system “is a game changer for the region and gives the ability to meet a patient’s needs regardless of what their diagnosis is.”
An important part of sharing Shane’s story is thanking those who have encouraged him during his recovery journey, beginning with his wife Kristy, their children and family. In addition, his fellow patients, as well as Suzanne, Evelyn, Kevin and everyone on Allied Health’s staff, continue to play key role in supporting Shane and his family.