Daring to dream with her team: Resident completes mother-son dance with help from nursing home staff

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Regina Clardy practices the wedding dance with her son, Brandon.
Regina Clardy practices the wedding dance with her son, Brandon.

It's not unusual for nursing home staff to help a resident walk again.

But when that resident has a rare neurodegenerative disease and wants badly not to just walk but to dance at her son's wedding, that's a goal requiring true teamwork.

Pruitt Health Pickens in South Carolina delivered for Regina Clardy, 49, who had resigned herself to hitting the dance floor only in her power wheelchair.

Pruitt, Second Wind Dreams, and Pruitt's Toccoa Pharmacy pitched in for additional therapy and the equipment Clardy needed to sway with her son, Brandon, for 90 seconds of Rascal Flatts' "My Wish” on March 17.

This was the “big day” Clardy very much needed, according to staff.

“When she first came, she was very withdrawn, watching Netflix in the dark,” activities director Danielle Merck told McKnight's. “When we told her we were going to try and make this happen … the difference was night and day. She is out of her room every day, making friends and talking to everyone.”

Clardy has multiple system atrophy that began as tremors and visual disturbances. She eventually became unable to move her arms and legs and moved to Pruitt late last year.

Though she'd tried therapy before, Merck and therapy staff encouraged her to try again with the addition of extra equipment, including special braces on her feet and a gait belt her son would use to support her at the wedding.

The mother-son dance was the result of a company-wide Pruitt program that aims to fulfill patients' dreams and recognize staff for going the extra mile. Through the Committed to Caring contest and a partnership with Second Wind Dream, Cardy also received a limousine ride, a spa day and lunch at her favorite restaurant.



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