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Sheltering Arms TV Documentary Celebrates National Rehabilitation Awareness Week

  • Published: 2009-08-28 (Revised/Updated 2010-07-09) : Sheltering Arms.
  • Synopsis: Recovery from disability due to illness or injury is extremely hard work for the patient and his or her rehabilitation team.

Main Document

An upcoming documentary from Sheltering Arms is just one way Central Virginia's premier physical rehabilitation healthcare provider is marking the 2009 National Rehabilitation Awareness Week.

When a healthcare organization has been around for more than 120 years, it's likely to have many, many remarkable success stories. Television viewers in Richmond will be treated in September to three such stories about patients of Sheltering Arms who learned the Power to Overcome. A half-hour documentary about the patients' recovery from health challenges and disability and how that recovery was achieved will air on three area television stations during the month.

The documentary is being released to coincide with National Rehabilitation Awareness Week, which is celebrated by gubernatorial proclamation in Virginia from September 20-26. The program will air Tuesday, September 8 at 9:00 p.m. on WRIC (channel 8), on Saturday, September 12 at 7:00 p.m. on WWBT (channel 12), and on Saturday, September 19 at 7:30 p.m. on WTVR (channel 6). Emmy Award-winning local videographer Eric Futterman produced the documentary.

Sheltering Arms began in 1889 in downtown Richmond as the area's first acute care hospital that treated all patients regardless of ability to pay. Today, Sheltering Arms is Central Virginia's premier physical rehabilitation healthcare provider.

"Recovery from disability due to illness or injury is extremely hard work for the patient and his or her rehabilitation team," said Sheltering Arms President Jim Sok. "Everyone involved must have a high level of dedication, as well as access to the latest technology. I'm thrilled everyone will be able to see these wonderful stories."

Profiled during the program are three local residents who achieved remarkable recovery.

Jamaal Williams is a former Virginia Union University football player, who had a massive stroke at the age of 28. When he arrived at Sheltering Arms, he was completely paralyzed on the left side of his body and was unable to speak. Today, with help from his rehab team and technologies like the REO robotic trainer and SaeboFlex, he is mobile, vocal, and independent.

David Thomas was left immobile and unable to eat food or speak following a brain aneurysm. His family was told to consider putting him in a nursing home. Instead, he was transferred to Sheltering Arms, where the gains he made in the hospital and after his return home have been nothing short of miraculous. His first words post-stroke were to his daughter, when he said he loved her. Recently, he walked her down the aisle at her wedding.

Dorothy "Dot" Hughes has a lifelong relationship with Sheltering Arms. In the 1950s, her two sons were born at the hospital. All that she was asked to bring with her were cans of evaporated milk. No payment was required. In 2002, she was once again cared for by Sheltering Arms, this time as a stroke rehabilitation patient. Today, she participates in Club Rec, a day recreation program for individuals with a disability or physical limitation. Club Rec is one of many services in Sheltering Arms' Partner for Life Program.

The documentary is not the only Rehabilitation Awareness Week activity this year. On Friday, September 25, Sheltering Arms is partnering with AAA of Virginia to hold an event called CarFit. At the event, elderly members of the community will work with trained therapists to ensure they're safe to drive. They will receive a detailed 20-minute inspection and one-on-one meeting where therapists will make sure the vehicle is set up appropriately to make them as safe as possible on the road.

On September 23, Sheltering Arms will honor the hard work and triumphs of all physical rehabilitation patients with the third annual Celebration of the Power to Overcome. The gala event will take place in the Grand Ballroom of The Jefferson Hotel. It will be emceed by local radio and television personality Bill Bevins, and will feature a keynote address from award winning comedian and cancer survivor Scott Burton.

Clips of the documentary are available for media use. For more information, please call one of the contact numbers at the top of this release.

Reference: Sheltering Arms helps patients find the Power to Overcome the obstacles of illness and injury with a complete range of physical rehabilitation and wellness services. To learn more about Sheltering Arms' two hospitals and eight outpatient clinics, visit, or call 1-877-56-REHAB. To read the latest news from Sheltering Arms and about physical rehabilitation, visit the

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