The People Who Saved My Life

Sparkle Crumpler said she was “miserable” when she first visited Arc Health Services in the fall of 2012.  She was overweight, suffered from severe back pain due to an accident, and wasn’t feeling very good about herself.

“I was in some predicament,” says Sparkle.  “I didn’t know what I would do.  I was not happy at all because of my back.  I had no energy.  I told the physical therapist straight up that I had nothing, no strength, no anything.  I was on a lot of medications.  I was lost.”

After 18 months of physical therapy and nutritional services at the Arc clinic, Sparkle has turned her health, and her life, around.

“I’m happier than I’ve ever been because of the Arc team that I now have,” she said.  “I’m so glad that I came in.  God has been good to me by bringing the Arc into my life.  I love the Arc and the people who help me.  I’m thrilled to go there three times each week and see them all.  My strength is coming back, I’m eating healthier and I’m feeling really good about myself.  I turned my life around and I couldn’t have done it without the Arc.”

The love Sparkle feels for the Arc cuts both ways.  Her Arc “health team” consists of Kristina Brown, physical therapist; Kristina’s intern, Briana Fellows; Suzanne Masters, dietitian; and Carmen Jones, individual support specialist.  (“I love Carmen,” says Sparkle.  “She’s like a mother to me.  We can talk about anything.”).

“Sparkle is just delightful,” said Kristina.  “Her attitude is fantastic and she’s willing to try anything.  She recognizes that exercise is going to get her to where she wants to go.  She’s a hard worker and is doing all sorts of exercises for her back on her own time at home.  When she first came in, she was in so much pain she was almost in tears.  Now her pain is down to near zero.”

“She says it’s us, but it’s all her,” said Suzanne.  “She’s the one listening to our advice and suggestions and following through.  She’s a really good listener and comes in with great questions.  She’s a sweet, smart person who is really focused on taking care of herself.  I see her every other Monday morning and she’s just pure joy.  It’s so gratifying to be able to help her.  The proof is in her numbers.  She has lost a lot of weight.”

“I’ve lost 27 pounds,” said Sparkle proudly.  “I’m cutting back on my portions.  I drink a lot of water and juice.  I buy fresh vegetables and fruits instead of canned.  I walk a lot.  I like to be active.”

Sparkle works at the McDonald’s just down the street from her apartment, where she lives with her cat, September.  She walks to work and has cut back on the burgers, fries and breakfast sandwiches.  “Sparkle is pro-physical therapy and pro-nutrition,” said Kristina.  “The effort is always there.”

Kristina has been with the Arc since 1997 and has seen it grow considerably since then.  Arc Health Services, located with agency administration at 2060 Brighton Henrietta Townline Road, offers a broad array of services to improve the physical and mental well-being of individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities.

“We (the clinic) have a little more patience than what you would find at a typical clinic.  There are very few clinics in our community that cater to the individuals whom we serve.”

“There are many people like Sparkle, where it may take them longer to make progress.  We are always careful not to lose them psychologically, or they may not stay with us.  And if we cause them a lot of pain, they are apt to drop out.  So we all work hard to ensure they are successful and buy into the program.”

Some, like Sparkle, make the program completely their own.

“I’m thrilled to come into the Arc three days a week,” she said.  “I love seeing the people who saved my life.”