Thursday, March 03, 2011 - RIM Celebrates 60 Years of Hope and Healing
Media Contact:
Cheryl Angelelli    

In the late 40’s, the scourge of polio hit with a deadly and paralyzing vengeance. It attacked without warning and produced terrified victims and helpless families. Detroit was in desperate need of a champion. Establishing a facility dedicated to providing rehabilitation medicine for both polio survivors and severely injured World War II veterans became a battle cry.


On March 6, 1951, The Rehabilitation Institute of Metropolitan Detroit was established to help persons with disabilities return to their communities at the highest level of independence, not only physically, but psychologically, socially, and vocationally.


Sixty years later, Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan (as we are called today), has grown into one of the top rehabilitation facilities in the country and is a leader in teaching, research, and patient care in the rehabilitative field.


On Thursday, March 10, 2011, Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan (RIM), will celebrate 60 years of providing hope and healing to those recovering from disabling injuries and illnesses, at its Anniversary Gala at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, from 6-9 p.m. The evening features a strolling gourmet dinner, live auction, and special concert performance by The Contours.


The evening will also feature an awards ceremony celebrating some of the remarkable patient success stories RIM has been a part of over the past 60 years. RIM’s Courage Awards are presented annually to patients who have overcome enormous obstacles and faced adversity with strength, courage and determination This year’s award recipients include:


Sharina Jones (Troy, MI)
Sharina Jones was shot and paralyzed when she was only 5-years-old by a 7-year-old boy playing with a gun. However, life in a wheelchair has not confined her. She earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing and an MBA. She enjoys hand-cycling, mono-skiing, playing wheelchair basketball and writing. Sharina is currently writing an autobiography relating to her many experiences being in a wheelchair. With the help of an aggressive physical therapy program at RIM, Sharina was also able to stand and dance with her husband at her wedding last May.


Peter Hudson (Sterling Heights, MI)
Peter has worked as a fireman for the City of Highland Park for over eight years. On June 29, 2009, Peter and his partner were responding to a 2 a.m. fire call when the house they were in became engulfed in flames. He became disoriented and trapped. For four minutes his head, arms and back burned until he found a window to jump out of. Peter ended up with burns on 60% of his body and was a patient in RIM’s Burn Rehab Program. Thanks to RIM and his own determination he is back to work as a fireman. Peter now spends a lot of his time visiting other burn patients at RIM to help them work through the pain and has donated money to a burn camp for kids.

Matthew Kerry (Dearborn, MI)
Matt Kerry was a standout HS football player who was entertaining college scholarships from around the country. But those dreams were sidelined in July of 2006 when Matt dove into four feet of water and became a quadriplegic. When he came to RIM, all he could do was shrug his shoulders. Thanks to RIM’s aggressive spinal cord injury program he can now push his own wheelchair, brush his teeth, and feed himself. Despite his challenges, Matt signed up for a study abroad program and recently completed a semester abroad in Spain. He is currently continuing his studies at the University of Michigan where he sees a future in politics.


In addition to RIM’s Courage Awards, RIM board member, Dick Widgren, will receive RIM’s Humanitarian Award for his distinguished leadership and service to RIM, and RIM donor, Jacob Alspector will receive RIM’s President’s Award for his exemplary contributions towards advancing RIM’s mission.

Proceeds from the Gala benefit the Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan Fund, which supports rehabilitation research, education and community programs.

About the Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan
DMC’s Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan is one of the nation’s largest hospitals specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitation. The Institute is home to many innovative programs, including the Southeastern Michigan Traumatic Brain Injury System (SEMTBIS), one of only 16 federally designated centers of excellence in the U.S. for the treatment of brain injuries, and the Center for Spinal Cord Injury Recovery, a world-class facility designed to implement and study innovative treatments in spinal cord injury recovery. RIM is one of eight hospitals operated by the Detroit Medical Center (DMC). The DMC is proud to be the Official Healthcare Services Provider of the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Red Wings, and Detroit Pistons.