BHSU student gives back to Shriners Hospital after over 15 years of support

Author: BHSU Communications/Tuesday, January 9, 2018/Categories: Students, Community

After over 15 years of support from the Shriners Hospital, Black Hills State University sophomore Wyatt Bills, communications major from New Underwood, decided to give back to the organization that helped him overcome the limitations of his Cerebral Palsy (CP). His fundraiser seeks to raise $500 for his Shriners Hospital medical team.

Shortly after birth, Wyatt was diagnosed with CP, a neuromuscular condition that effects motor function along with numerous other symptoms that are unique to each patient. While the condition is not progressive, growth spurts instigate developmental problems that require extensive therapy and often expensive surgeries.

Faced with these mounting needs, Wyatt’s family sought out an outlet to help him healthily progress from childhood into adulthood.

“It’s a big commitment from an entire family in order to raise someone that isn’t going to have the easiest time growing up,” Wyatt shared.

The family soon connected with a representative from The Shiners Hospital in the Twin Cities. The Shriners Hospital is a donation-run, nationwide network comprised of 22 non-profit medical facilities. The care for children in the areas of Orthopedics, Burn Care, Spinal Cord Injury, and Cleft Lip and Palate. With a large full-time staff of pediatric orthopedic surgeons in the United States, as well as a comprehensive team of physical, occupational, speech and other therapists, they provide customized care to each child.

A team of medical professionals helped Wyatt’s family create a “game plan” that would guide him into adulthood. Since then, Wyatt and his family made dozens of trips the organization’s headquarters in Minneapolis, Minn. Medical and therapeutic services all took place at the Shiners Hospital, and donations helped pay for the majority of the financial burden.

Wyatt underwent 16 surgeries between the ages of five and eighteen. These included hamstring lengthening, reconstruction of both ankles and knees, and two reconstructions of his right hip.

Wyatt recalls his first major surgery, at only five years old: “It’s called a Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy. They open up the spinal cord, repairing the nerves along your spinal cord that are responsible for spastic movements. I spent six weeks in the hospital after that one, transported in a face-down hospital bed stretcher for most of that time.”

The toll of these surgeries and extensive travel between New Underwood and the Twin Cities eventually paid off, as Wyatt became an individual with a drive to overcome any limitation.

At 20 years old, Wyatt has completed his time as a patient at the Shiners Hospital, but he still reflects on the immense impact his Shriners medical team had on his life. As Wyatt transitions into his new chapter of life, he is not forgetting those who have helped him along the way. In mid-Nov. of 2017, Wyatt began a fundraiser that will raise money for the specific team of doctors and nurses who helped him at the Shiners Hospital in the Twin Cities.

“My goal is $500,” says Wyatt, who is excited to give back to those who helped him get to where he is today.

Wyatt’s fundraiser page also doubles as a resource for other young people learning to cope with their CP. “I share stories about what it’s like to live with CP. It’s information that is not available from a Google search,” says Wyatt. “The emotional side of dealing with something like this, the feelings of being an outsider—it’s all to be expected, but you can learn from them.” Wyatt’s page has already begun to make a difference in the lives of those reading it. “I have been contacted by families who’ve thanked me and said that this was a helpful resource for their child,” says Wyatt.

As he looks forward to building a career in sports journalism, which will allow him to travel and build relationships with people across the region, Wyatt focuses on excelling despite the difficulties of CP.

“A lot of people view CP as a barrier that they are born with and can’t get past,” Wyatt said. “However, I want them to know that you’re limitations don’t define who you are, that you can define your limitations.”

To help Wyatt and the Shriners Hospital reach their goal and to read more of Wyatt’s story, visit https://donate.lovetotherescue.org/fundraiser/1161036.
 
Print

Number of views (1433)/Comments (0)

x
12345678910Last

Cave explorer prepares for grad program with classes at BHSU-Rapid City

13 August 2018

Cave explorer prepares for grad program with classes at BHSU-Rapid City

Can you escape for four days? Black Hills State University-Rapid City student Chris Pelczarski can. Chris is a Jewel Cave explorer. When he’s not mapping new cave passages in Jewel Cave near Custer, you can find him taking classes at Black Hills State University-Rapid City.

Same degree: 4 faculty members share their experiences teaching at BHSU-Rapid City

9 August 2018

Same degree: 4 faculty members share their experiences teaching at BHSU-Rapid City

Four esteemed faculty members at Black Hills State University share their perspectives on teaching at Black Hills State University-Rapid City: Steve Babbitt, Dr. Trenton Ellis, Dr. Bobbi Looney, and Dr. Wei Song.

Associate degree in business now offered at BHSU and BHSU-Rapid City

9 August 2018

Associate degree in business now offered at BHSU and BHSU-Rapid City

Black Hills State University received approval from the South Dakota Board of Regents today to offer a new associate of science degree in business administration. Students may begin enrolling in the program immediately.

Degree from BHSU-Rapid City leads to promotion for Regional Health employee

6 August 2018

Degree from BHSU-Rapid City leads to promotion for Regional Health employee

Alyson Wiedrich was going to college at Black Hills State University in Spearfish when she moved to Rapid City for a job opportunity with Regional Health. Rather than quit school because of distance, Alyson finished her business degree at BHSU-Rapid City and earned a promotion along the way.
 

BHSU students the first Americans to study at Chinese university in Hebei

2 August 2018

BHSU students the first Americans to study at Chinese university in Hebei

Black Hills State University students made history last month as the first Americans to study at Baoding University in Hebei, China. The students visited China for three weeks as the capstone to their “Drawing in China” course offered by BHSU.
 

Nepal and South Dakota: The path to a nursing degree begins with BHSU-Rapid City

1 August 2018

Nepal and South Dakota: The path to a nursing degree begins with BHSU-Rapid City

Their stories are vastly different; their goal is the same: To become a nurse. Two emerging healthcare professionals share their path to the nursing profession with Black Hills State University-Rapid City. 
 

Sturgis Rally shuttle driver pursues degree at Black Hills State in Rapid City

30 July 2018

Sturgis Rally shuttle driver pursues degree at Black Hills State in Rapid City

Many locals have a “Rally Job.” Here’s one local resident Sturgis Rally participants might meet amongst the motorcycles and fanfare: Dennis Morton, secondary education major at Black Hills State University-Rapid City.

Online master’s in education programs at BHSU recognized for quality and affordability

26 July 2018

Online master’s in education programs at BHSU recognized for quality and affordability

Black Hills State University is ranked sixth among the top 20 affordable master's in curriculum and instruction online programs for 2018 by Best Value Schools. In a separate ranking, the online master’s in education in reading at BHSU was also ranked 19th among the top 25 programs of its kind. BHSU was the only South Dakota university listed in the rankings.

Mark Larscheid Memorial Golf Tournament adds to scholarship at Black Hills State University

25 July 2018

Mark Larscheid Memorial Golf Tournament adds to scholarship at Black Hills State University

The 18th Annual Mark Larscheid Memorial Golf Tournament was held recently at Spearfish Canyon Golf Club. The proceeds from this year’s Memorial Golf Tournament, silent auction and donations totaled $6,300. This brings the amount in the Mark Larscheid Memorial Scholarship to $74,900 at BHSU. This year’s scholarship recipient was Whitney Scott, a graphic design major and pole vaulter from Watertown. 

Find your voice: Presenting Ideas with Competence Workshop Series

23 July 2018

Find your voice: Presenting Ideas with Competence Workshop Series

The South Dakota Center for Enterprise Opportunity (SD CEO) is proud to announce the upcoming workshop series: Find Your Voice: Presenting Ideas with Competence. The two full-day events are August 16 and August 23 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Black Hills State University-Rapid City.

Black Hills State ranked in top 10 among 50 best online business degrees

19 July 2018

Black Hills State ranked in top 10 among 50 best online business degrees

Black Hills State University was ranked ninth in the nation on a list of 50 of the best online Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree programs for 2018 by Best Value Schools. BHSU is the only South Dakota school included in the ranking.

Farley named Dean of the BHSU College of Business and Natural Sciences

18 July 2018

Farley named Dean of the BHSU College of Business and Natural Sciences

Black Hills State University welcomed Dr. Greg Hunt Farley as Dean of the College of Business and Natural Sciences at BHSU, effective June 22. Farley brings to BHSU three years of experience as inaugural Dean of the College of Science, Technology and Mathematics at Fort Hays State University in Kansas. 

Wyoming educator’s impact inspires scholarship legacy at BHSU

12 July 2018

Wyoming educator’s impact inspires scholarship legacy at BHSU

The Guthmiller and Burgess families donated $10,000 to the Black Hills State University Foundation to create the Betty Lloyd Memorial Scholarship Endowment at BHSU. An annual scholarship will be awarded to a junior or senior at BHSU majoring in Elementary Education. Preference will be given to students from Casper, Wyo. The first award will be given the fall of 2018. 

$20 in your pocket: BHSU waiving application fee at Downtown Friday Nights

12 July 2018

$20 in your pocket: BHSU waiving application fee at Downtown Friday Nights

Black Hills State University will waive the application fee for all new students who apply for admission to the University during Downtown Friday Nights in Spearfish. “If you stop by our booth and apply that night, we’ll waive your $20 application fee,” said Beth Oaks, director of admissions.

Yellow Jacket Athletics continues upward trend in RMAC

11 July 2018

Yellow Jacket Athletics continues upward trend in RMAC

The Black Hills State University Yellow Jackets have made tremendous progress in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) since moving to Division II athletics five years ago. This year the Yellow Jackets moved up to the top 10 for the conference All-Sports Competition Cup after finishing in last place in 2014-15 and in 13th place last year.