Published on June 18, 2021

Home Runs For Life: Rebekah Hillman

The motivational message on the t-shirts Genesis Physical Therapy Staff and patients wear say “All It Takes Is All You’ve Got.’’

Rebekah Hillman has proven to have a lot more to give than most. More willpower, more attitude, more optimism, according to staff of Genesis Physical Therapy at Genesis HealthPlex, Moline.

On her final day of physical therapy, Hillman paced laps around the physical therapy clinic carrying a bucket weighing 35 pounds. She climbed steps with the bucket. She moved a box with weights from shelf to shelf.

She started the session on a stationary bike at a high rate. Unless you glimpse her blue steel-colored prosthesis below her left knee you wouldn’t understand the real story of the strenuous bike ride.

Last June 18 at her home in Colona, Ill., Hillman was mowing. She remembers having difficulty with the mower. She was headed for a six-foot high retaining wall and the mower didn’t stop.

“I jumped off the front over the wall and the mower kept going. It went over the wall and landed on my legs,’’ Hillman said. “I knew right away it was serious. My left ankle was nearly detached. Not by the blades. By the mower’s weight,’’ Hillman said.

Severe Injury

Hillman was airlifted to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Her left ankle required amputation several inches below the knee.

Her right leg also was badly damaged. The injury to the right leg was repaired with plates and pins.

“The right leg actual hurts more than the left,’’ she said.

In the months following the accident, Hillman received home health assistance from Genesis, received her prosthesis and began outpatient therapy at Genesis Medical Center, Silvis. On Feb. 26, she completed physical therapy and received clearance to return to work.

Hillman is a heavy equipment operator with Local 150. She helped with construction of the approaches to the new I-74 bridge. She understands the irony of a heavy equipment operator suffering a severe injury mowing lawn.

“I feel like I am doing well. I have more confidence with my prosthesis,’’ she said.

Genesis Staff Makes An Impression

Genesis staff in various capacities have made a positive impression on Hillman. Her primary physical therapist, Josh Gosnell, said the feeling is mutual.

“All of the Genesis people who have cared for me have been awesome,’’ Hillman said.

Gosnell said Hillman has been a star physical therapy patient.

“Her dedication has been amazing. She has done so well because of her mindset and dedication,’’ Gosnell said. “Patient success is determined by how hard you can be pushed, and how hard a patient pushes themselves. What you put into it is what you have a chance to take away.

“That slogan on the t-shirts is accurate. It takes all you’ve got.’’

Hillman has returned to work and reports she is doing well.

On June 18, exactly a year from the date of the accident, Hillman will celebrate her amazing recovery. The Quad-Cities River Bandits will salute her perseverance as part of the Home Runs for Life recognition. Home Runs for Life recognizes the recovery efforts of Genesis patients and their care teams.

  • Hillman

  • Hilman

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