Sutton Kelly wants to be where the people are. Especially if they're splashing and swimming around in the pool on a hot summer day. The 5-year-old works with Madonna occupational therapist Michelle Wiggins to regain strength and mobility limited by spinal muscular atrophy with respiratory distress, a genetic disease affecting the motor nerve cells in the spinal cord. Michelle called upon Dr. Chase Pfeifer at Madonna's Institute for Rehabilitation Science and Engineering, along with student researchers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to create a custom flotation device just for Sutton, allowing her to maintain an upright position while kicking and spinning and refining her motor skills. Sutton got to try out her new device during an aquatic therapy session with Michelle, where the two sang a duet worthy of Ariel, the Little Mermaid.
The Institute for Rehabilitation Science and Engineering provides adaptations for patients like Sutton through grants from the Madonna Foundation and gifts from generous donors like you. Your support allows our researchers to remain on the cutting edge of rehabiltiation technology and enable patients to achieve their maximum level of independence through innovation.