Lynn Tanner, PT, MPT, thinks of patients such as the girl, now 6, who was diagnosed with leukemia at 4 months old but learned to walk and gained strength through physical therapy.
"Her mom tells me she can now do everything that her brothers and sisters can, even though she had treatment at such a young age and experienced a number of side effects," says Tanner, a rehabilitation clinical specialist in oncology at Children's Minnesota in Minneapolis.
Reggie Matthews, PTA, always will remember the patient who "basically was functioning on 1 leg and 1 hip" after cancer surgery and feared spending the rest of his life in a wheelchair. "We built up his body strength and got him to the point that he could walk with crutches," recalls Matthews, who's assigned to the orthopedic floor and leukemia services at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. "He was discharged. Then, I was at lunch one day and he came up to me on crutches just to say, 'I thank you, I love you, and I appreciate everything you did for me. You helped me to believe again.'