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therapist and patient

Christmas gifts aid patients with therapy

It's a day that Terria Miller looks forward to all year – the annual Spartanburg Regional Pediatric Rehabilitation Christmas party. 

Miller, a speech pathologist, and her colleagues handpick gifts for their patients to receive at the party.

Speech, occupational and physical therapists each select gifts that will help more than 500 young patients with their therapeutic goals. 

"I look for toys for the kids that might involve imitating words and sounds," Miller said. "But I also want it to just be fun." 

Patients received these gifts at the 22nd annual party – held Dec. 7 in the Spartanburg Regional Outpatient Center lobby. Santa Claus and Shelldon the Turtle were on hand for photographs. Balloon artists created clever figures and shapes, including deer antlers kids could wear on their heads. The event also included face-painting, a magician’s booth, and a brunch to rival any restaurant buffet. 

It's all made possible by Spartanburg Regional Foundation's Judy Bradshaw Pediatric Rehab Fund. Bradshaw is a local philanthropist with a heart for children in need. She and her husband, Charlie, attend the party every year with members of their family. 

"It just gets better and better," Judy said.

She remembers many of the children from year to year. "It means a lot to see the progress they make," she said.

The pediatric rehab team is made up of experienced therapists who specialize in evaluation and treatment of individuals from birth to 21 years old. The team consists of occupational therapists, physical therapists and speech pathologists.

Bettina Dillard has two sons, Zakaris and Zytayvius, in the program. She praised the work of their therapists and said they look forward to coming every week.

She and the boys also enjoyed this year’s Christmas party.

“I think it’s a wonderful event,” Dillard said. “And we are very appreciative.”

Pediatric rehab manager Sharon Caston said that planning for the annual party begins in July. She works with the Spartanburg Medical Center gift shop to purchase toys, games and dolls through wholesale vendors.

“We look for quality items and consider what’s popular each year,” Caston said. “And we try to cover all areas with gifts that promote learning as well as active and creative development.”

Caston said her team is grateful to Bradshaw for her generosity and for her interest in the rehab program.

“She’s the kind of person we all should strive to be – humble, selfless, and so kind.”

To support patients in the pediatric rehab program, visit https://regionalfoundation.com/donate-now/families/.