Still Strong: Helping a Young Boy Fight Cancer

Today, LIVESTRONG Day, shows how the LIVESTRONG Foundation and its partners, including Johnson Health Tech, are Still Strong: strong in our commitment to adapt and flourish, and strong in our commitment to help those affected by cancer. How is Johnson Health Tech Still Strong (#StillStrong)? Earlier this year we were contacted by a LIVESTRONG by Johnson customer, Theresa. Theresa is the mother of Joshua, a young man who was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor in 2011 when he was only 18 years old. After one doctor told Theresa he “could do the surgery, but…,” she sought a second opinion. They took an ambulance to a different hospital to meet with a different neurosurgeon and Joshua’s brain tumor was removed during a 7 ½ hour surgery. Although the surgery was successful, Theresa and Joshua spent the next year traveling 3 ½ hours each way to complete his chemotherapy and radiation treatments, sometimes five days a week. He completed chemotherapy in August 2012 and continues his path to recovery. Joshua also completed 14 months of occupational and physical therapy after his surgery. In order for him to continue to exercise, a vital component of his recovery, Theresa purchased a LIVESTRONG LS13.0T treadmill for Joshua to use at home since he still tires easily. Theresa quickly learned that the treadmill, as she purchased it, would not work for her son. Unfortunately, Joshua’s balance was severely affected by the cancer. He was unable to adjust his stride to walk on the treadmill without kicking the motor cover because the handlebars did not go back far enough for him to hold on while walking. Theresa wanted to know if we had longer handles to use on their treadmill. Frustrated, but hopeful, she sent an email to our Customer Technical Support Department requesting a solution that would enable her son to use the treadmill comfortably. “When I saw the note from Theresa, I just thought it was a great opportunity for us to use our skills to help someone directly,” said Bob Najduk, senior project manager – global retail. “The problem was unique because the frame wasn’t designed to work with medical handlebars.” Although Najduk was unsure it was possible to meet Theresa’s request, after passing some communication around, the product management team collaborated with the model shop to create custom medical handlebars to retrofit Theresa’s treadmill. “Rick Mobley and Noel Johnson took a look and found an incredibly smart solution that had never been thought of before,” said Najduk. “Rick spent time out of his day perfecting the design with such detail and focus that when I went back to see the final result I was truly speechless.”

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Theresa’s story really hit home with Johnson Health Tech Model Shop Lead Rick Mobley. “I lost my nephew to cancer last year so I am very familiar with the toll that battling this disease takes,” he shares. “I felt that anything I could do to help someone else that is going through it would be time spent in the best possible way.” Joshua is thrilled and Theresa tells us the extensions make it much easier for him! Several weeks ago he had another MRI and all is still well. “…Wow I could not have expected how hard you all would have worked to help one person. I thought you might give me some suggestions but to have them build and ship a new design to us went way beyond my expectations!” said Theresa. livestrong_treadmill_handlebars (3) This story truly inspires our team to keep looking for ways we can make a difference in our customers’ lives. “We spend every day using our knowledge and skills to help people improve their fitness and this time it was extra special because we could help someone who needed more than most,” said Najduk. How are you Still Strong? Who are you Still Strong for? Tell us in the comments and share your story on our Facebook page using hashtag #StillStrong.