2016: From a mom getting her life back to finding love after loss

Love and family make the world go round, and our providers find it a privilege to help change people’s lives to keep that love going. Whether it’s providing life-changing care to a young mother, giving a person her hearing back, remembering a beloved colleague or finding a new life through therapy, we take great joy in helping create those moments.

Life-changing epilepsy treatment lets mom be a mom

Kristen Neaville has her life back after surgery to end her epilepsy. Before surgery, she could not be alone with her young son and she suffered from frequent seizures. Carle Neuroscience Institute found a way to improve her quality of life.

“Lots of changes have happened in the last year,” Neaville said.  “We moved from our apartment into a house. I now work part-time, I clean our church building, and I clean people's houses.”

“I definitely feel a lot more confident in myself to take on the world. Before, I was so embarrassed to have seizures in front of people because I couldn't control myself at times.”

Today, Kristen loves playing with her son, visiting with her friends and enjoying her family without fear of seizures.

“On January 21, I will be two years seizure-free. It’s amazing.”

Team honors late midwife by following in his footsteps

Ray Spooner died in August, but the certified nurse midwife’s influence lives on.

Families in East Central Illinois remember his quiet encouragement as he brought their babies into the world. People with chronic conditions nationwide remember his determination and his authenticity as he blogged about his cross-country bike trek to raise money for and awareness about ALS.

And his coworkers continue to follow in his footsteps during Carle’s annual wellness Step Challenge.

“I couldn’t hear it physically, but I could hear him in my head motivating me,” said Paula Clementz, RN, and member of team Walking on Sunshine. “That’s what I wanted to do—to let him know by doing this he’s never going to be forgotten.”

Rare surgery helps local artist hear life to the fullest

Dr. Ryan Porter changes lives daily for children and adults with hearing loss.

The otolaryngologist and his neurology colleagues turned up the volume in 2016 by performing more surgeries to address a rare condition called acoustic neuroma. After a 10-hour surgery to remove the non-cancerous tumor between her skull and her brain, star patient and world traveler Marjory Seitz was on her way to clearer hearing with help from the bone-anchored hearing device (BAHA) Dr. Porter placed a few months later.

“I wanted to leave the hospital that day, but had to stay the weekend,” Seitz said of her initial surgery. “Dr. Porter knew I had a reputation for being adventurous, so he was clear that I needed to rest.”

Support, friendship turn to love after devastating loss

For years, Carle’s Pediatric and Therapy Services/Rehabilitation areas welcomed furry friends to make hospital stays more pleasant. Thanks to glowing praise and positive results, the inpatient pet therapy program now boosts patients’ spirits in nearly all parts of the hospital.

In fact, a great love story of 2016 centered on a special boost from one particular pooch: Cooper. Fans of the Cairn terrier will be glad to know Lynn and Marty Vogel—who met when Cooper and Lynn helped Marty’s first wife endure years of surgeries—got married in August in Jamaica, celebrated with a reception here this fall and will spend 2017 and beyond happy in ways they couldn’t have imagined.

Spreading even more happiness, human/dog teams visit Windsor of Savoy residents each week.

“The independent- and assisted-living residents love the visits they get as a lot of them miss having a pet in their own homes,” said Amanda Burwell, pet therapy coordinator.