STAMFORD, Texas (KTAB)- She’s worked hard for a year, as she’s gone for at least 40 years. She collects cans. She turns the cans in for cash and gives the money to the West Texas Rehab Center.
Denise Dennis, of Stamford has cerebral palsy.
“It was very difficult. I was made fun of at school,” says Dennis.
Skeet Dennis, Denise’s mother says, “It was scary. Because I didn't know what to do, how to help her.”
Skeet Dennis says a doctor referred her to the West Texas Rehab when Denis was two years old.
Denise went through speech therapy.
“They put peanut butter on my cheek because I couldn’t move my tongue. They would have me try to reach the peanut butter off my cheek,” adds Dennis.
She also went through physical therapy, “They made me walk up the staircase and back down.”
She then took on occupational therapy.
“I put it back in here and pull it out,” She says as she makes a bible bookmark. Dennis were, I couldn’t do that. The Rehab taught me how to use my hands and I love to do it.”
Dennis went through 11 years of therapy. She never had to pay a penny because of generous donors who support the rehab.
Steve Martin, the President and CEO of th West Texas Rehab Center says, “It’s a neat relationship between the center, our employees, and those patients. There's a bond there.”
Skeet Dennis says, “I'm so thankful to God and the Rehab because she can do the things that she needs to do. She can take care of herself when I'm gone.”
“I help Momma a lot. I don't know how to do a lot of things. I'm learning each day how to do something different,” Denise Dennis says.
One thing remains the same though. Dennis’s spirit and eagerness to give back the the place that gave her so much.
Denise Dennis also makes personalized bookmarks for people she meets including many members of the KTAB team. Another skill she credits the West Texas Rehab for teaching her how to work with her hands.
One year when Dennis had her can collection stolen, people stepped up to help and contributed $13,000 to show support for Dennis and the Rehab.
Dennis will present her check to the West Texas Rehab during the 49th annual telethon Saturday night, January 19th.