Paula's Story of H.O.P.E.


At 5 years old, Paula was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Doctors told her family it was inoperable and that she would not survive, but her mother, Judy F., was determined. Judy drove Paula to numerous consultations across states. Finally, they landed in Connecticut. At Yale-New Haven Hospital, they met with Dr. Charles Duncan, a pediatric neurosurgeon. He shared that he had only seen 10 cases like Paula’s statewide and that her tumor was, indeed, inoperable. He performed her surgery anyway, saving Paula’s life.

25 Years of the Same

Paula’s surgery left her with many limitations and needing a lifetime of therapies. Like most Americans, she received about 30 and 60 minutes of speech-language, occupation, and physical therapy each week. When her benefits ran out for the year, she stopped therapy.  “I was in and out of SL, PT and OT for years and years and none of it really helped. I always felt the same as before and after the therapy. And, I was always afraid of falling and hurting my left side where I had the injury from the brain surgery,” says Paula. For over 25  years, this was the pattern. Paula became less and less active, and moved less and less over time. 

Finding MovingwithH.O.P.E.

Paula’s neuropsychologist referred her to M.W.H. so that she could work to become more active, self-sufficient, and involved in her community. Paula agreed with her doctor and was excited to start something new.

At first, Paula’s lack of flexibility, endurance, and strength limited her movement and ability to exercise. She also used a cane to walk short distances. For longer distances, she needed to be pushed in a wheelchair. 

The MovingwithH.O.P.E. Difference

M.W.H. designed a unique, long-term plan of care for Paula so she would have access to multiple hours of therapy all year long. Her occupational therapist at M.W.H. was in constant communication with her independent living skills trainers. Her physical therapist was in constant communication with her Activity-Based Restorative Therapy trainers. Her care never stopped and Paula thrived. 

The research-based therapies Paula receives at M.W.H. have improved her life dramatically. She no longer needs to walk with a cane or use a wheelchair. Paula reports feeling happier and healthier, and she enjoys being a more active member of her community. She has lost over 40 pounds. 

What’s Next for Paula?

Paula is excited to maintain her weight loss. She is also continuing to develop her problem-solving skills using M.W.H.’s cognitive learning program. She looks forward to getting a job so that she can be even more self-sufficient. 

She looks forward to traveling around the country and even internationally. She hopes to one day give talks about her experience.