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Getting on the Healing Path with the Alvarado Hospital PALS Programs

  • Category: Blog
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Ben Macapugay
Getting on the Healing Path with the Alvarado Hospital PALS Programs

After Mike Fonseca suffered a stroke three and a half years ago, he hit a low point in his life. The 60-year-old already survived a bout with cancer seven years prior, and his toughness also allowed him to survive the stroke. But it left his body battered and his spirit depleted. “I spent three months in the hospital after the stroke,” said Mike. “At that point, lying in that hospital bed, even just walking again was a dream.”

His occupational therapist thought that Mike would be a good fit for the golf program at Alvarado Hospital’s San Diego Rehabilitation Institute (SDRI). Mike is a life-long golfer who started playing the game when he was 10, and started competing at 15. The golf program at Alvarado’s SDRI is a part of that department’s PALS programs, and its aim is to use the game of golf as a therapeutic activity for people who have suffered debilitating injuries or have decreased mobility due to illness, accident, or aging. Mike’s therapist introduced him to John Klein, pro golf instructor and director of the PALS SoCal Rehab Golf Program. And John, along with recreation therapists Mary Williams and Leo Madrid, helped Mike regain enough function with his mind and body to not only walk again, but even play golf. “I’ll never play again like I did when I was competing in college,” explains Mike. “I don’t have much function on the left side of my body, but John has helped me learn to adapt and use what I do have to move and hit the ball. The folks at SoCal Rehab Golf Program inspired me in just the way I needed to help my body heal and reach goals that I thought were permanently beyond me after the stroke. I’m better physically and spiritually because of John and Mary.”

Mike also credits the love and support he received from his wife, and his faith, for allowing him to heal. He is especially happy that he can now play golf with his wife; and he plans to participate in the SoCal Rehab Golf Classic, an annual tournament that the PALS program holds that matches able-bodied golfers with those who have physical impairments for a fun day of competitive golf. “After an injury, like what I went through, you have to keep your body moving or everything will go South really quickly. John is a godsend and Mary is an angel! I can’t say enough how the SoCal Rehab Golf Program has changed my life!”

Visit AlvaradoHospital.com/pals to learn more about the SoCal Rehab Golf Program, and other programs offered. To learn more about the SoCal Rehab Golf Classic, visit AlvaradoHospital.com/socalgolf