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Torchlight w-Honor Roll Fall 2013

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Physical therapy students ready dad for daughter's big day Don Fields' steps were slow and painstaking, but they were beautiful for those in attendance at Eva and Brent Schwartz' wedding in July. Fields is still recovering from the effects of the stroke he suffered in 2010. But he managed to accompany his daughter in her walk down the aisle, give a toast and dance with the bride, while nearly a dozen students from Sac State reveled in the emotional scene. More than 18 months earlier, Eva Schwartz had enlisted Sac State physical therapy and speech pathology and audiology students to help her father, Don, slowly progress from bedridden with a bleak prognosis, to cheery and increasingly mobile. "They saved my father's life," says Schwartz. "This has given my dad a standard of life that he wouldn't have had." In appreciation for the care the students provided, Schwartz encouraged donations to the Department of Physical Therapy and the Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology as part of her wedding gift registry. Physical therapy doctoral students "All these things that they said he wouldn't be able to do, he did. It was an amazing experience." — Emily Johnson, Physical therapy doctoral student Emily Johnson, Courtney Hahn and Chelsea McCormick continue to make house calls to Fields' Sacramento home three days a week. They play catch, go on short walks and do other exercises to build up his strength and coordination. They were also on hand to witness his performance at the wedding—a feat that doctors and nurses all but ruled out just a few years ago. "All these things that they said he wouldn't be able to do, he did," Johnson says. "It was an amazing experience. 4 For information on supporting programs at Sacramento State visit csus.edu/giving. Above: Eva Schwartz observes as her father Don Fields works with Sac State physical therapy student Chelsea McCormick. Below right: Schwartz and Fields dance on her wedding day. I don't know if I'll ever have another experience like this, to be able to work so closely with a family." Johnson, Hahn and McCormick were eager to take on Fields as a patient. Elaine Gardner, Casey Mokres and Esther "Teia" Jung worked with Fields throughout the 2012-13 school year, but they embarked on their clinical rotations in May. Before leaving, the students made sure Fields was left in good hands. "I was friends with Casey and she emailed me asking if I would ask our class if anyone was interested in working with Don," McCormick explained. "I said, 'I want to do it.' Emily was sitting next to me, and she said, 'I'll do it too.'" The physical therapy sessions are valuable for Fields, but also for Schwartz, who spends six to seven hours nearly every day with her father. "He gets to be around young people, he gets to be outside and it's fun for him," Schwartz says. "With me, it's his daughter being a pain. I'm very strict. I'm obsessed with every chance we get to Sac State Torchlight do more rehab. When the students are here, I can leave. I can move on for a few hours." Schwartz also turned to Sac State's Maryjane Reese Language, Speech and Hearing Center to assist her father with his speech, which has also improved dramatically over the past year. "I'm not very good with his speech because I can understand him, but no one else can," Schwartz says. "It was nice having someone else listen to him and tell us what he needs to work on." Speech pathology and audiology students Emalee Sharp, Hayden Zen, Patti Osterholm and Hillary Vigil worked with Fields as he prepped for the toast at his daughter's wedding. It capped an epic day celebrating the Schwartz' union and Fields' remarkable progress in recovery. "He gave his toast, he walked, he danced," Schwartz says. "It was perfect." Courtesy Photo

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