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120 Percent: Atoka youth makes strides after being paralyze

By Thomas Sellers Jr.
devin-morton-1

Devin Morton pets thepary dog Kimber during his Friday session.

Devin Morton pets thepary dog Kimber during his Friday session.

Running out the front door to participate in a pickup basketball game is a luxury most boys take for granted.
Dodging a classmate to reach the imagery end zone in football was life as usual for Atoka resident Devin Morton. The 11-year-old’s typical day involved sports, studying his favorite subject of Math and playing video games.
But all that came to a sudden stop one summer day during a visit to Aunt Glenda’s house. Then an active and precocious10-year-old, Devin’s body shut down with an aliment doctor’s still can’t officially diagnose until this day.
“On July 28, I went to my aunt’s house,” Devin recalled. “I complained of a headache. So she called my Mom. Mom said to give me some medicine and call her back in an hour. In 5 minutes I started crying. My Aunt knew that wasn’t me. My Mom turned around and came back. By the time my Mom came back from work, I was paralyzed from my neck down.”
Once Devin’s mother Shun Wherry arrived his condition was so bad an ambulance was needed to transport Devin to Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Downtown Memphis.
No feeling in most of his body, Devin and family was told he might regain 10 to 20 percent of the usage of his body.
“I was like, ‘Is this for real,’” Devin said. “I thought it was like a dream or something. We never accepted that. We just prayed about it. This has gotten me closer to God. My relationship with Him is closer than it was.”
Devin started his journey back with God and his mother by his side. Also supporting him in the recovery process were aunts Glenda Thomas, Gloria Robinson and Vera Hayslett and uncles Damon and Avery Wherry.
On August 12, Devin traveled to Atlanta for a month of rehabilitation. It was there Devin show his will and determination come to fruition.
“I got a whole lot back from the physical therapy,” he said. “I started sitting up, got use back in left leg and walking.”
Once back in Memphis, Devin became a regular at Le Bonheur Downtown Outpatient Rehab located at 980 Poplar Ave. He visits the team of occupational therapists Kelsey Mace, Kacie Butterworth and Savanna McHenry-Loma; physical therapists Cara Munekata and Jeana Norton.
“Devin comes to see us three times a week,” Lomas said. “That is a lot of time spent together. I’m one of his team (members). We have three O.T.’s and two P.T.’s working with him. All of us are very proud of him. Devin is an old soul. He’s a good big brother. I think Devin has a wonderful spirit”
The physical therapists exercise and try to strengthen Devin’s body. The occupational therapists work on Devin’s ability to function in everyday life.
“He’s a true inspiration,” Munekata said. “He really pushes himself and works hard. He’s the ideal patient. He says, ‘Let’s try more. Let’s go faster.’ He is wise beyond his years.”
The work at Le Bonheur has Devin setting goals like returning to Atoka Elementary School in January. Already surpassing the original expectations of the doctors in July, Devin said he will continue to make major strides.
“It’s made me more humble and I don’t take things for granted,” he concluded. “My goal is getting 120 percent back. Don’t take things for granted. It could be worse. It was horrible. But today, it feels a whole lot better than it was.”

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