It's typical for youngsters to spend time running, jumping and playing, when they're not in school that is. But for a six-year-old from Statesboro, it's tough to do these things. Laina Farr suffered a stroke two years ago, but thanks to a local chiropractor, Dr. Steve Ranicki, she is getting better.
"In March of 2001, two weeks after her fourth birthday, Laina collapsed at daycare, and later it was determined she had a stroke," recalled her mother, Vicki.
The stroke caused loss of speech and paralysis to Laina's right side. After she went through rehab therapy in Savannah and Atlanta, doctors said whatever mobility she gets back in the first year is about all Laina could expect. Vicki says she just didn't believe that. She was looking for help and that's when Dr. Ranicki stepped in. For the last six months, he's provided free treatment to Laina.
"I was always the sickest kid in the class, when I started to see a chiropractor, it changed my life," Dr. Ranicki said. "All my allergies and asthma were gone and that's where I wanted to focus my career."
What brought Dr. Ranicki and Laina together was food. The Pooler Supper Club was holding a fundraiser next door for Laina. When he found out, Dr. Ranicki thought he could help. "I had just recently helped a person with a brain aneurism, which affects the brain in the same way as a stroke and he saw pretty dramatic changes," he said.
"Since we've been coming to Steven, it's just unbelievable to see how much she has gotten back in the right arm," said Vicki.
"After a couple of weeks, she actually tried to tie her shoes with both hands. Holding things with both hands now," Dr. Ranicki told us. "Never underestimate the power of the body to heal. We need to start building health instead of fighting sickness."
Dr. Steven Ranicki, this week's WTOC Hometown Hero.
If you'd like to nominate a Hometown Hero, you can drop us a line at the station: PO Box 8086, Savannah, GA 31412, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.