Inspiring Stories

JacobThe year my son was in the third grade, I didn’t eat. I never left my phone, even to take a shower. Jake, who has autism, was scared to go to school and totally unhinged once he got there—running in circles, biting...

Marshall Garber

Marshall Garber is a patient at Kennedy Krieger’s International Center for Spinal Cord Injury.

A few years ago, I developed a mass on my spinal cord that left me paralyzed. My family sought out the best place to help...

Luke McNair happyChrissy McNair describes her son Luke, 13, as “one of the happiest kids I’ve ever met.” He usually wakes up in a good mood and likes cracking jokes with his two brothers. He loves Top-40 music and animals, and has been riding horses since he was 3 years old. “The best word for him is...

Katie Bickford truckKatie Bickford remembers the pain starting in the 7th grade—it began in her spine and radiated out all over her body. The pain got so bad she couldn’t walk. To make matters worse, she fractured her heel, and then her arm, so it hurt to use crutches. She used a...

Perry ZimmermanAt the tender age of 13, Perry Zimmerman has already battled a lifetime’s worth of illnesses. Born with retinoblastoma, a type of eye cancer, Perry developed a related brain tumor at age two that...

DeVant Capers with his teacher, Katie CascioI was lucky enough to meet DeVante—a shy, reserved student with autism spectrum disorder...

Liza PatchelWhen Liza Patchel was diagnosed with cerebral palsy as an infant, doctors said she would never speak or walk. When she enrolled in public school, administrators said she would never play for their sports teams. Other “experts” told her she would never go to college. Now 31, Liza has...

James Williams IIIDoctors once told James Williams’s parents their son should be institutionalized due to his severe intellectual disability and autism. Now 22, James is employed and has an active social life. He recently was offered a position working full time at a convenience store,...

Damian JacksonAfter graduation from Kennedy Krieger High School, Damian Jackson went on to complete three 10-week internships at Union Memorial Hospital. In April, Damian, 21, was offered a job at the hospital as a rehabilitation technician for inpatient physical therapy. Damian impressed the...

Melissa SilvermanWhen Melissa Silverman was younger, her parents worried she wouldn’t have enough social interaction as she grew older, and they wondered what her future would hold. Now 30, Melissa, who has Down syndrome, is actively involved in advocacy and social groups, and has been...