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West Texas Rehab Center: Nathan McGallian

ABILENE, TX (KSWO)- Learning to walk through play ----That's the goal for one young patient at the West Texas Rehabilitation Center in Abilene. Makenzi Henderson with the Raycom News Network tells us the story of a young boy named Nathan:

Whether he's bouncing on a trampoline or jumping into a ball pit, Nathan McGallian always gets to play at the West Texas Rehabilitation Center in Abilene.

"He just brings so much joy to the session," said Jacqueline Foreman, a physical therapist at the West Texas Rehabilitation Center.

So – you might not believe this.

"It's not my favorite thing in the world." Six-year-old Nathan says he likes trains a bit more. "When I was five I liked trains a little bit but I liked buses when I was five."

"Now that you're six..."

"I like trains."

In fact, he'd rather talk about trains than his therapy.

"I have toy trains. I draw trains like, like with three wheels and triangle on the front. Because they go around tracks every day ..."

What Nathan might not realize that playing with trains is chugging along on a therapy track toward walking alone.

"We've really worked on building up his confidence with his walking." Physical Therapist Jacqueline Foreman has been working with Nathan for three years.

"Even though his legs are impaired right now as far as, you know, restricting him from getting to that goal, he doesn't let it phase him."

Nathan has trouble walking because he was born with cerebral palsy.

"So his brain is telling him one thing but his legs are not responding," Foreman explained.

But Nathan has gotten his legs to respond more and more through therapy like this.

"He's met a lot of those goals. Before he was in the gate trainer and then we went to the lobster and crutches, and then we're trying to work on walking with just one lobster and crutch to build up his independence and strength," Foreman said all that independence and strength comes from this type of play. "So this is really good for him too as far as stretching those muscles."
While it's not Nathan's most favorite, it might be the most beneficial.

"I learned to walk. I learn to walk with not anything," Nathan exclaimed.

For the Raycom News Network, I'm Makenzi Henderson.

While there is no way to know whether Nathan will be able to walk on his own one day, that is the goal.

West Texas Rehab specializes in a number of treatments including physical therapy, prosthetics, speech and hearing therapy, and they accept patients regardless of their ability to pay.

And you can help patients just like Nathan. Their annual telethon airs this Saturday night, here on 7News, starting at 7:00 p.m.  We'll break away for our 10:00 p.m. newscast, then return to the telethon until midnight. Last year, they raised nearly $1.3 million dollars.

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