Madonna Hospital Topping Best Rehab Facilities in Nation

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Late last year, Larry the Cable Guy made a $1.2 million donation to the Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital to create a new wing for children's rehab.

The wing will be called the Alexis Verzal Children's Rehabilitation Hospital, named after a 3-year-old patient.

The 8-bed addition, set to open this July, will complement the 6-bed facility built in 2007, making it one of the most elaborate pediatric rehab facilities in the country.

Families say the investment is money well-spent.

When Owen Keenan first arrived here three weeks ago, his family was expecting a long, uncertain road to recovery.

John Keenan, Owen's father, says, "It's been extremely tough. Something we never imagined we would ever have to go through."

The 4-year-old was hit by a car over Easter weekend and suffered severe head trauma.

Keenan says, "The first days were very scary. We weren't sure what God had planned for Owen."

The Storm Lake, Iowa family put their faith in God and rehab specialists at Madonna. The results have been remarkable. "He just continued to progress and get stronger and stronger."

That success is one reason Larry the Cable Guy donated $1.2 million to expand services that benefit the family as well as the patient.

Dr. M. Scott Applegate, Medical Director of Pediatrics at Madonna, says, "These families don't want to send their young children away all by themselves so they need places to stay, they need facilities to accommodate them and accommodate the children."

A family room with a kitchen, bath and shower facilities and an enclosed playground are all included. When completed, this construction zone will offer some of the best services in the country.

Holly Schifsky, of Madonna Rehab Hospital, says, "Now we have an opportunity to provide rehab services to kids that before this, wouldn't have had an opportunity to recover to their maximum."

Hospital staff say when a child suffers a severe injury, many times their future hopes and dreams are crushed.

Applegate adds, "What we're able to do through intense rehabilitation for these kids is to return those hopes and dreams to those kids and those families."

Something the Keenans believe as they watch, wait and hope for Owen to return to the boy he was just a few weeks ago.

Madonna is also adding a 4-plex on campus to allow more families to stay near their children during their treatment stay.

As for the Keenans, they're planning on more weeks of recovery.

To donate to a medical expense assistance fund in Owen's name please mail to address below:

Citizens First National Bank
PO Box 1227
Storm Lake, IA 50588