Word of Mouth Makes a Difference
Renown Rehabilitation Hospital employee spearheads help campaign for a patient in need.
We can all probably agree that moving is stressful. But try moving following a life-threatening car accident — stressful is an understatement. So it was with Shane Fish.
Fish, 22, sustained injuries in the September 2013 accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down. He worked tirelessly at Renown Rehabilitation Hospital for nearly three months adjusting to life as a paraplegic and learning to live independently with the physical challenges he now faced.
Jason Nelson, certified occupational therapy (OT) assistant at Renown Rehab, worked one on one with Fish during his stay. And as the time for Fish to be discharged and head home approached, Nelson saw a need that demanded attention.
With Nelson’s help, Fish found a place to live. Other than that, he had nothing.
“I just moved and had donated probably a house full of stuff that Shane could have used,” Nelson says. “So I thought there are probably other people in the same boat, and it kind of snowballed from there. It was really word of mouth around our facility.”
Nelson spread word about Fish. His coworkers and other Renown employees, some of whom had never even met Fish, donated items including a bed and frame, couch, dishes, laundry items, food and gift cards. Nelson and his coworkers even moved Fish’s belongings and set up his new abode. “Our goal was to make it as smooth of a transition and as easy for him as we could.”
Fish, for his part, couldn’t have been more grateful.
“They are really good people,” Fish relates. “Helping me out with everything took a lot of stress off of me, and it was pretty cool for them to help me like that,” he continues. “Jason was awesome as an OT — always helping out with stuff, or if I needed to talk to somebody he would talk to me.”
While at Renown Rehab, Nelson accompanied Fish on outings to the grocery store or bank so he could get practice doing day-to-day life skills on his own. “In my mind I couldn’t just send somebody out without enough life skills, so we worked some on that, too,” Nelson relates.
Nelson’s coworkers praised him for his efforts. But Nelson credits them with the success of the project — they stepped up to plate and delivered generously when someone was in need.
“I was really impressed with all my coworkers and all the other people that came together,” Nelson says. I think the coolest thing was people coming together, helping someone they didn’t even know.”