West Texas Rehab Center Holding Telethon Fundraiser - KSWO, Lawton, OK- Wichita Falls, TX: News, Weather, Sports. ABC, 24/7, Telemundo -

West Texas Rehab Center Holding Telethon Fundraiser

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LAWTON Okla_ Every year, thousands of patients receive millions of dollars in specialized therapy at the West Texas Rehab Center, and it's free.

The private non-profit center has been changing lives ever since it was founded in 1953. Saturday night, you can help continue that tradition by contributing during their telethon on your 7News station.

Patients are being given a new lease on life through the vast array of specialized rehabilitation services offered at the center. That's proof that their ambitious mission is working.

"We work to improve the quality of life of the people that we serve, regardless of their financial circumstance," rehab center President Woody Gilliland said. "That last part really sets us apart from other health care providers. We turn no one away regardless of their ability to pay."

It's a mission that's been working since 1953, chronicled in captivating photographs displayed throughout the center. Gilliland said in 60 years, the patient count has grown from 17 to almost 30,000 a year. He said one of the reasons for that growth is the center's ability to handle complex diagnoses that some providers choose not to serve.

"That impacts patients and families," Gilliland said. "To get some of the services that we have, many people will have to go to the Metroplex, or a larger urban environment. Here, they can not take off of work, come on their lunch hour, bring their youngster, and not miss school."

The services include occupational, physical and speech therapy. The center maintains a positive atmosphere, which the center's staff said is essential.

"The people that come here are here for a reason," physical therapist Erin Hicks said. "They either don't feel good, or something's not working right. They're not able to do what they need to do. So, if we can have positive attitudes, laugh, have a good time, and get their minds off of what's going on, that definitely helps."

Gilliland said some the center's ability to meet the rising demand for those services depend on donations. He said the escalating cost of healthcare is tough on many of their patients, including those with insurance.

"It's not just those without a payer source," Gilliland said. "A lot of those with a payer source still have problems with co-pays and deductibles. Certainly, we can help them in that area as well."

He said the center provides about $3M to $4M in care to those who can't afford it each year, making donations vital to their cause.

The center has been around since 1953. Since then, they've had second and third generations donating to the center. They even have a "Legacy of Love Wall" dedicated to donors that have passed away, complete with an interactive system with information on the donors.

Gilliland said the goal of this Saturday's telethon is $1M. He said that money allows them to give patients first-rate care and provide life-changing moments to anyone who walks through their door.

"I heard one just this morning," Gilliland said, "A mother has a young son that has been in speech therapy here. Her comment was that when he first started coming here, he couldn't speak. Recently, he said to his mom ‘I love you.'"

This weekend's telethon is the center's largest fundraiser of the year. Last year, it brought in over $1.2M.

That money helps the center give specialized care to patients who can't afford to pay for it. The telethon is this Saturday at 7:00 pm and ends at midnight.

The headliners are rising country stars Jana Kramer and Aaron Watson.

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