Small grants can make a big difference

No exaggeration — a $2,500 grant this summer from our Webb-Croft Endowment to a program at MUSC designed and produced by Patty Coker-Bolt (Ph.D., Assistant Professor, and community blessing) resulted once again this summer in children receiving life-changing therapy that would have cost their families a total of more than $250,000 if given at teaching hospitals in other parts of the nation. The week-long 30-hour program is called “Camp Hand to Hands”, and costs the children’s families ZERO. Here’s what it does, and how it leverages the dollars provided 100-fold, turning $2,500 into more than $250,000:

CIMT (“Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy”) uses splinted gloves fashioned into puppet mittens on a stronger limb to get children with cerebral palsy (or other conditions) to want to use their free weaker limb to participate in deliriously fun activities. The result is that over the course of a week of “Camp Hand to Hands”, the weaker limb becomes stronger and more available to the children. While places like the Kennedy-Krieger Institute at Johns Hopkins can charge a family $15,000-$20,000 or more for this experience (usually not covered by insurance), it was FREE to the 14 kids who did it this summer at MUSC’s O.T. Department because, using MUSC students as the therapists in loads of space made available by MUSC for this, the only things that have to be bought are lunches, splinting supplies and hand puppets, and craft things from area discount stores for the MUSC students to make games, props and decorations for each day’s different theme (one day, maybe the Olympics; another day, maybe Disney World). As you can see from the photo, the ratio of MUSC students to kids is incredible at better than 3-to-1. Patty Coker-Bolt received one of Charleston Magazine’s 2011 “Giving Back” awards for volunteerism – not for this program, but because of her leadership in helping to create the Charleston Miracle League. She also was one of the founding board members of Pattison’s Academy. Legions of local special needs children are better off in lots of ways because of Patty.

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