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Where Are They Now? – Ally Armstrong

A strong faith, a loving family and a generous heart have helped propel Ally Armstrong forward more than three years after a sledding accident in February 2010 left her legs paralyzed. Today, the beautiful and vibrant 20-year-old from Schnecksville is focusing more than ever on her future as she moves into a new apartment with a roommate and starts her junior year at Jefferson University in Philadelphia in pursuit of an occupational therapy degree.

“I’m really excited to be going to Jefferson because it’s ranked sixth in the country for occupational therapy,” says Ally, who spent six weeks at Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital undergoing therapy followed by three months of outpatient therapy after her accident. “I knew I wanted to do something in health care but didn’t know what exactly until I volunteered at Good Shepherd last summer.”

Ally had been a student at Indiana Univer-sity of Pennsylvania. When she decided to transfer to Jefferson, she needed to fulfill a post-entry requirement of 50 hours of volunteering in a rehabilitation setting. She spent most of her time helping out on Good Shepherd’s brain injury unit and at the pediatric outpatient unit, where she discovered some big differences in patient care.

“It was amazing how different it was than working with older people,” she says. “I had to be a lot more patient. The kids did not want to sit still and I had to come up with ways to entertain them that were therapeutic at the same time.

Ally checked out the Jefferson campus and says that getting around in her wheelchair will be easy. “All the buildings are real close, and it’s all flat there,” she says. “And everybody’s willing to help me if needed, but I think it will be super easy.”

Although she experiences pain in her feet, Ally is all about being independent and making the most of every day. “I’m coping really well,” she says. “I feel like it gets easier every day. There are so many opportunities in Philly… I’m excited about that.”

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