The four disciplines of St. Jude Rehabilitation Services collaborate to set patients on the right track.
Most moms get a little irked when their children slip off to a secret hiding place. Six-year-old Colin Hayward Toland doesn’t have one of those moms. Colin’s clandestine adventures are met with an approving smile from his mother, Tamiko Toland, because four years ago she wondered if he would ever walk again.
As a toddler, Colin underwent two surgeries to remove a rare brain tumor called ependymoma.
The tumor, deep in Colin’s brain, damaged structures essential for producing normal movement, and the operations left him unable to walk or speak. He had facial palsies, experienced difficulty moving, could not hold onto things and lost hearing in his right ear.
Colin arrived at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in August 2009, where surgeons removed his remaining tumor. Immediately afterward, Colin met with staff members from all four areas of St. Jude Rehabilitation Services. These specialists worked with Colin to overcome deficits caused by the tumor and surgery.
A month later, he was sitting on his own, playing, moving his mouth and trying to form words.
Initially, Colin had difficulties simply holding up his head. With physical therapy at the hospital and at home, he is now walking independently, keeping his parents busy with a variety of activities: swimming, drawing and playing with his army action figures. The walker from Rehabilitation Services was gathering dust in a closet when Colin’s family decided what to do with it.
“We brought it back to St. Jude so another family could use it,” Tamiko says. “That family will be told that this walker is available to them because the child who used it last doesn’t need it anymore—because he’s walking again.”
Abridged from Promise, Autumn 2013