Inspiring Stories

Never Say NeverIt was spring of 2007, and the town of Hastings, Nebraska, was looking forward to summer. Memorial Day weekend had come and gone, and Kirk and Jami Ortegren had just watched their son Jack crawl for the first time.

On Thursday, May 31, they dropped him off at day care, telling the staff there that he was a little grouchy...

Girl InterruptedA faded piece of paper taped to her bathroom mirror lists the things that 20-year-old Amy Dykes needs to do each morning: take her medicine, brush her hair, wash her face, brush her teeth, apply her makeup. Today that piece of paper is seldom used, but just two years ago, it was a map that helped guide Amy through each morning....

A Mother’s Story

Collin and His Mom Lilleen with Dr. Kathryn Wagner

It’s 1976 and flash bulbs pop as eager relatives urge seven-year-old Lilleen Walters to smile for the camera. Feeling fancy in her flower girl dress, she fights to curve her lips into a smile to please the wedding...

There was broken glass and debris everywhere, and I could hear sirens in the distance. Just moments before I was sleeping in the car as we drove home from a family vacation in Florida. I was jolted awake as the car flipped over, and I could feel myself being thrown around as if I were in a washing machine. I was strangely calm, lying half in and half out of the backseat - until the paramedic checked me for injuries and I couldn't feel anything. I began to panic. When I asked if I was...

"Come here, I want to show you something," Khai Walker calls upstairs to his father. His fingers flash across a video game controller as he maneuvers a pixilated basketball player down the court. His father, Kenith, sticks his head into the room and Khai, with a few precise key strokes, guides the player through an aerial spin and perfect slam dunk.

"Nobody can beat him at his games," says his mom, Jacqueline.

Where others are all thumbs and air balls, nine-year-old Khai makes...

Matt CoursonI've always been an athlete. When I was younger, I pitched the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) World Series twice. After high school, I played baseball for the University of Arkansas at Monticello. But, despite those achievements, I never imagined how much physical strength I would need in a wheelchair. Late one Saturday night two years ago, I...

Aquatic Therapy at Kennedy KriegerIt's the dead of winter, but college junior Darin Ruark is spending much of his winter break afloat in a sparkling, penthouse-level pool. The air is warm and the sun shines through floor-to-ceiling windows. But while it may sound like a relaxed get-away, Darin isn't enjoying a winter vacation with...

Lily WilkinsonWhen Lily Wilkinson was three, her neck was broken in an automobile accident leaving her paralyzed below the waist. A moment of screeching tires and crumpling metal, and her new life appeared etched in stone before she had ever entered kindergarten. After months of intensive care, her parents were told she would never be able to use or...

It was a twisted ankle that finally brought Corinne down. After so many injuries-a broken hip, surgery on her knees and her shoulder-it was one small twist, something anyone would dismiss offhand, and Corinne was flat on her back, in absolutely unimaginable, intolerable pain.

As a child, Corinne was susceptible to injury. Her family, like so many others, thought the bumps and bruises were nothing more than a sign of childhood clumsiness. But then, at 13, Corinne took a tumble on the...

JeffreyLife has dealt 14-year-old Jeffrey a particularly challenging hand. Jeffrey, who lives with his parents and sibling in a low-income neighborhood in South Baltimore, has bipolar, obsessive-compulsive, anxiety, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorders. Four years ago, his behaviors became so severe that his parents...