Patient Walks for First Time in Four Years To Receive High School Diploma
Since Jared Brown, age 17, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when he was 14 months old, he has been coming for therapy at Good Shepherd Pediatrics. For most of his life, he was able to walk using a walker. But in eighth grade, when dystonia (uncontrollable muscle movements) started to take a toll on his body, he began to use a wheelchair.
Since that time, Jared has been determined to walk again. To control his symptoms of dystonia, he has had two brain surgeries and had a baclofen pump implanted in his abdomen to deliver medication. Jared has been working hard with physical and occupational therapists at Good Shepherd to rebuild muscle strength. Recently, as graduation from Parkland High School began to approach, he set himself the goal of walking across the stage at Stabler Arena on June 9 to receive his diploma. With the aid of a gait trainer and under the watchful eye of Good Shepherd physical therapist Erin Martinez, Jared achieved his wish.
“Jared has worked very hard to achieve his goal,” says Jana Brown, Jared’s mother. “His therapists at Good Shepherd know how to inspire Jared and when to push him. They always have his goals in mind. The staff is stupendous.”
Jared’s parents are proud of all he has achieved, in addition to walking again. He has a generous nature and each year at Christmas he donates gifts to pediatric organizations. “He knows what it is like to be hospitalized at Christmas,” says Jana Brown. This past year, he delivered food to homeless people with his family and raised $800 through a lemonade stand and quilt raffle to support pediatric cancer research.
Jared also has learned sign language, teaching himself and then following up with coursework at Parkland High School. His career aspiration is to become a sign language interpreter.
Jared is active in the Miracle League of the Lehigh Valley, playing weekly at the ballpark in Schnecksville. He participated in the Tri for Inclusion race held by Mikayla’s Voice in 2013, coming in second place in his division, and he goes to Camelot for Children for social events and activities.