Bernadette Borchelt and Cherry Estilo, physical therapist

In Dec. 2015, Bernadette Borchelt suffered a severe fall, causing a traumatic brain injury and the protrusion of one of her spinal discs, compressing her spinal cord and paralyzing her arms and legs.


By Jan. 2016, Borchelt had arrived at Life Care Center of Waynesville, Missouri. Her first few months at the facility brought many obstacles, including a few rehospitalizations, but Borchelt was determined to push forward with her rehabilitation.


When Borchelt first arrived, she had to use a feeding tube and wear a neck brace. She didn’t have enough strength to lift her arms or legs, and she needed two to three people to help her sit on the edge of her bed.


Now, Borchelt has gained enough strength in her arms to support herself while walking with a wheeled walker. She can walk more than 200 feet with a walker and assistance from her therapist, and she doesn’t need her neck brace anymore. Her feeding tube was also permanently removed in Dec. 2016.


In her occupational therapy sessions, Borchelt has progressed enough to try cooking and light housekeeping tasks.


“This is quite the difference from a year ago when just sitting on the edge of the bed was such a monumental task [for her],” said Dawn Payne, marketing director. “She never stopped believing in Jesus, and she gives Him the credit for all that she has gained.”


Therapists continue to work with Borchelt as she gets closer to independence.


“Her determination and her faith have carried her through many months of healing,” said Payne. “We are all very proud of her success.”