Success Stories

Leroy Vankirk

Leroy Vankirk chose RHNI to help him regain his independence after a complicated spine surgery.

After a difficult spinal surgery, Leroy Vankirk, 80, set a goal to return to his busy lifestyle. Leroy still works part-time at a manufacturing company that he owns in Michiana. He loves pheasant hunting, golfing, and spending holidays with his family.

Leroy realized he needed rehab to regain his independence. His daughter and wife helped research safe facilities. They decided they could trust Rehabilitation Hospital of Northern Indiana with his care.

Since admitting to RHNI, the details his therapists put into each session has impressed Leroy. Leroy mentioned that the small things have been a huge help and motivator to return home to his family. This includes relearning how to put shoes on safely, shower, and do basic daily activities. Leroy particularly recognized Kim, his respiratory therapist. “She has been a delight to work with and always has a smile on her face,” he said.

Leroy also spoke about how his wife of 44 years, Charlene, is his biggest motivator. Returning to her is what pushes him to work hard in therapy every day.

Leroy’s hard work and dedication to getting back home is what we’re all about here at RHNI!

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Gary Gabrich

Gary Gabrich discharges from RHNI after rehabbing from multiple fractures.

Before his accident, Gary Gabrich lived a very active life. Years ago, Gary and his wife, JoAnn, were in search of a new hobby to enjoy together. They found the Michiana Bicycle Association. The couple joined the club at age 50 and would ride up to 25 miles per trip. Now 78, Gary was still peddling away.

Deciding to challenge himself, Gary planned a 31-mile bike trip down to Potato Creek State Park. He ended up running into some unforeseen trouble on this new terrain, resulting in an accident. A passing car pulled over to assist Gary and called 9-1-1. EMS transported Gary to Memorial Hospital for evaluation. In the accident, Gary suffered fractures in his left leg and shattered his left elbow. After surgery to repair the injuries, Gary was in need of inpatient rehabilitation. He was referred to Rehabilitation Hospital of Northern Indiana (RHNI) to regain his highest possible level of function.

After hearing about RHNI from a family friend, Gary decided it was “the place to be.” He couldn’t be more pleased with that decision, having made great progress. Gary has increased his range of motion and gained back strength and endurance. “My rehab team is superb,” he said, with a special shout out to physical therapists, Louie and Chris. “And I love the food here,” Gary added.

Gary has some big goals still. He looks forward to returning home to cruise around in his restored 1985 Mercedes-Benz SL roadster. Gary spent the last ten months working on the roadster before his injuries. He also looks forward to spending time with family and friends, and enjoying another newfound hobby — “amateur genealogist.”


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Bernard “Bernie” Stinski

Bernie Stinski is congratulated during his discharge from RHNI

Bernie Stinki discharges from RHNI after rehabilitating from a stroke.

Bernard (Bernie) Stinski is a retired city worker and an avid musician. He spends his days playing guitar in his band Dragonlore, walking his dog at least two miles a day, and playing baseball. As Bernie put it, he was really just enjoying life until a recent health issue put his passion on hold.

The symptoms left Bernie extremely weak and falling asleep easily, but he blamed it on recent medication changes. A visit to the hospital revealed he had suffered a stroke. The diagnosis devastated Bernie and left him unsure of his future.

Bernie’s medical team determined he needed rehab. He was determined to return home independently and get back to enjoying his life. He chose Rehabilitation Hospital of Northern Indiana to help him reach his goals.

Bernie is motivated by his love for music and to always do the best he can. He appreciates all the staff at RHNI. The entire team made a positive impact on his recovery, but PT Louie stands out the most.

He is looking forward to returning to normal life with his Siberian Husky, Serena, and his neighbor, Carrie, who has been a Godsend.

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Danny Cook

Danny Cook stands in front of his house after discharging from Rehabilitation Hospital of Northern Indiana

Danny Cook came to Rehabilitation Hospital of Northern Indiana to regain his independence.

Danny Cook is a retired truck driver who turned his skills into a hobby and passion after retirement. Danny spends his days building relationships and transporting Ancilla College athletes to games and tournaments across the country. But a recent health issue put his passion on hold.

The symptoms left Danny alarmed and unsure of his future. He experienced extreme weakness and fatigue, difficulty walking, and trouble eating. A visit to a local emergency room provided a diagnosis. Danny was in acute renal failure.

Danny’s medical team determined he needed rehab. He confided in his family to help decide where to continue his recovery journey. They chose Rehabilitation Hospital of Northern Indiana.

“I’ve been motivated to go home so I can start working again and see my students,” Danny stated. “I’m lucky to be at RHNI and I’m so happy I chose this rehab.”

Danny credits the staff for having a major impact on his recovery. “Matt, one of the dietary team members, is so proud to work here. And it shows. I was not able to eat when I first came here because of my illness, so when I tasted the delicious food it almost made me cry.” Danny noted that the nursing and therapy teams kept him accountable for working hard and staying motivated during the toughest days.

“The CEO even came in and saw me every single day,” Danny added. “I sure am going to miss these people when I leave.”

Danny’s gratitude is apparent, and he remains motivated to continue getting stronger after discharge. He cannot wait to get back to traveling the country with his college athletes and spending time with his godson, Christopher.


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