ATLANTA — Maria Manley has been through more in the last four months than many experience in a lifetime.
“They push you really hard to try to get you better, but they also make it really fun,” Maria said.
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Maria is a patient at Atlanta’s Shepherd Center. The 16-year-old suffered a seizure right after giving birth and woke up from a coma paralyzed. Eighteen-year-old Devin Bateman was seriously injured in a diving accident. They both have come a long way since their rehabilitation began. Now, it’s time to show off a bit.
“It kind of seems like they’re going to admire you a little bit, so it seems like it’ll be a cool experience,” Devin said.
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For the ninth year in a row, Shepherd is sponsoring a fashion show. Patients in the Adolescent Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Rehabilitation Programs will be dressed to the nines to shine in front of family and friends.
“The heart and soul of this has always been the same: Make these kids feel seen. Make them feel beautiful. Make them feel proud,” Shepherd occupational therapist Katie Kimball said.
It’s called Project Rollway. In addition to the fancy clothes, there’s hair and makeup.
“I’m fine with the hair. I really don’t want makeup on,” Maria said.
They’ll also reconnect with former patients to show them how far they’ve come. Maria wants them to see her 4-month-old daughter. She says around here, it’s like one big family.
“Yeah. It’s nice to have people, especially around your age that get what you’re going through,” Maria said.
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