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Happy Grandparent's Day!

Happy Grandparent's Day!

September 10 is National Grandparents Day and we’d like to take this time to thank all of the grandparents out there for their endless love and nurturing care!  

To celebrate this national holiday, we are spotlighting two outstanding grandparents, Mary Nell and John Loe. Mary Nell and John have six grandchildren and one of them has spent a lot of time at Brooks Rehabilitation.

Gage Burns was born with one-tenth of his small intestine. At the age of five, he had to undergo multiple organ transplants. During surgery, Gage lost the use of his legs. When this happened, Mary Nell and John wanted to make sure it would not stop him from participating in the activities he most loves.

Each summer, Gage leaves his hometown in Arkansas to visit his grandparents in Jacksonville, where he participates in Adaptive Sports and Recreation (ASR). He’s participated in many programs, including “his first love” - basketball. Mary Nell and John attend every event, up to five events a week, and are ready to help in any way that’s needed.  

Just this year alone, Mary Nell has attended all of the tournaments hosted by ASR and has spent more than 40 hours, both formally and informally, volunteering. Even when Gage is not at an event, Mary Nell is dedicated to ensuring ASR events are successful.

Mary Nell is described as a “beautiful soul” by ASR manager, Alice Krauss. Alice explained she is never afraid to “go up to families and work her magic.” “She will sit next to a family and make them feel at ease. She shares her story, which leads to them sharing theirs.”

ASR focuses on helping people heal in mind, body and spirit. Mary Nell does more than her part to make sure that happens. By talking with the families, she helps them heal. She makes sure no one at the event feels alone.

“She’s a firecracker,” Alice explains, “Mary Nell has a big, gorgeous smile and endless amounts of energy. She is warm, welcoming, humble and empathetic.”

Both Mary Nell and John wanted to take this time to say to Brooks staff, “Thank you. When you see the progress that people make and the forward steps they take… it’s just…our words are totally inadequate, but thank you for opening those doors.”

We want to extend our deepest gratitude to Mary Nell and John.  Without loving and supporting families like your own who dedicate time to Brooks community programs, we would not be able to help our participants reach their highest level of recovery and participation in life.  


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