West Texas Rehabilitation Center preparing for fundraiser

Abilene_The West Texas Rehabilitation Center is a network of three facilities in Abilene, San Angelo, and Ozona that provides more than 3,000 patients per year with care - even those without insurance who can't afford treatment.  The facility provides physical, occupational, speech therapy, and more.

The center began in 1953 and provided care for 17 cerebral palsy patients.  Now, it provides care for more than 23,000 patients with a wide range of disabilities.  The center provides comprehensive services in one location, which makes it unique.  "I think the best example of that is someone recovering from a stroke is going to need physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy, and they can get that all in one location," said President Woody Gilliland.

The center his home to an in-house prosthetics maker, provides hospice care, and sports medicine.  "We qualify folks into our program," said Gilliland.  "It's a safety net for folks that don't have a place to turn in many cases."  Since rehab often is a lengthy process, Gilliland says that therapists and patients can develop close relationships.  "As you watch these youngsters grow and mature from someone that initially couldn't walk to someone that can walk aided with crutches or canes, to get to the point where they don't need those anymore, it's just an incredible story," he said.

The center's annual budget of $21 million is funded through charitable gifts.  "It allows the rehab center to continue to fulfill its mission, and that's never turning anyone away regardless of financial circumstance," Gilliland said.  "That's the way it began back in 1953, and that's the way it is today and the way it'll be into the future."

Even in tough economic times, Gilliland says people want to be a part of success, and they continue to donate to the center knowing that they can impact someone's life and make a change.

The West Texas Rehab Center will have its annual telethon on Saturday, January 17, on 7News, airing from 7pm til midnight.  Last year, they raised more than $1 million.  For more information, please visit www.westtexasrehab.org.