EDITOR'S NOTE: On Sunday, we will air "A Celebration of Hope," a telethon we do every year in support of Tupelo's Regional Rehabilitation Center. It is one of the city's best known treatment centers for speech therapy, occupational therapy, dyslexia and so much more. In this story, WTVA's Mike Russell profile a precious ten year-old boy, helped immeasurably by the Regional Rehab team.
TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) - Over the years, Regional Rehab has crafted a rich legacy, one client at a time. One of those clients is 10 year-old Sam Pittman, whose therapists are working to make sure when he has something to say, he'll be heard loud and clear.
That's the sound of little Sam Pittman, a special child -- bright, witty, hard-working. But he's got one thing most kids don't, nodules on his vocal cords. Small, non-cancerous growths that produce a raspy sound when he talks. But at Regional Rehab. therapy is producing results...and smiles.
"It is like school, but more fun," says Sam of his frequent visits to the center. Here, his therapists teach him about using his voice more deliberately, showing him how it works, how to produce sound that actually may help him avoid more invasive treatment.
Needless to say, that has made his mother happy.
"This was our last hope in letting him have a normal life with speech and not having scar tissue from possible surgery, says April Pittman."
At Regional Rehab, a highly-trained team of therapists perform numerous kinds of therapists on clients. Little Sam receives multiple treatment strategies.
"We do what's called vocal function exercises," says Janya Rogers, a member of Sam's treatment team. "And that's kind of like physical therapy for your voice."
Sam's making great progress, and his life is more normal now, thanks to his own tenacity, and to those who put him through his paces with a gentle touch.
"Whenever I come here, I feel at home," agrees Sam. "I feel like I'm loved."
"He works extremely hard. He wants to do well, and so he'll do anything I ask him to do," says Rogers.
As somebody who talks for a living, it's easy to take my voice for granted. But one thing's for sure: Sam here is working hard to sure his voice is perfect for the rest of his life, with the help of Regional Rehab.
Sam absolutely agrees, and high-fives me to prove it.
FINAL NOTE: Sam was diagnosed by an ear, nose, and throat specialist prior to his therapy at Regional Rehab. That therapy is provided at no charge to Sam's family. A reminder: You can watch "Celebration of Hope" this coming Sunday from 1-3pm on ABC WTVA.