Animals are an important part of life on a farm and ranch. And that holds true for Clint Strommen and his family. Clint was diagnosed with merosin deficient muscular dystrophy when he was three months old.
"One of his goals has been to be able to reach up and pet a horse," says his mother, Sheyna Strommen.
He doesn't produce enough of the muscle protein merosin, which makes his muscles very weak, so weak that he can't overcome the effects of gravity. So, the everyday movements that we take for granted can seem impossible for Clint.
"On any given day he has a lot of break down in his muscles, so it's like he runs a marathon every day," says Sheyna.
While he loves to ride with his dad, he can't manage it alone. He needs to get stronger. And that's what he's doing here.
Clint and his therapist, Michelle Olson, are regulars in the hydrotherapy pool at Sanford Medical Center.
"When I put him in the water, that helps to overcome gravity. He has a feeling of weightlessness, so we can get some strengthening. And he doesn't have that fear of tipping over," says Michelle.
Also, his muscles can contract, or tighten up painfully, and he can have trouble breathing. The water helps with all of those things.
"It helps with the lungs. The compression of the water helps get all that gunk out," says Sheyna.
Clint is two years old now, and he's developed enough strength to sit up. But, he can't walk yet, or kick or throw a toy. In the water, he can do those things more easily, and that makes him more confident. And here's the best part:
"He doesn't know he's working. He's just swimming and having fun," says Sheyna.
All of this helps Clint to feel like any other kid. That's the goal for pediatric occupational therapist Michelle Olson, who has learned how to think like a kid herself.
"Kids' primary activity is play. So, you have to be willing to put yourself out there and just play, whether it's jumping, splashing, the movement you want to see come out of their little bodies," says Michelle.
Arlene Stephenson's goal is different. Rather than working to develop muscles held down by gravity, she's trying to hang on to the range of motion she was born with. The range that arthritis has slowly taken away from her.
"It's hard getting around, up and down the steps. It hurts. Sometimes it hurts a lot," says Arlene.
Arlene has always been active. In fact, she was doing water aerobics when her knee popped out more than 20 years ago. Since then, osteoarthritis has made everyday activity a challenge. When she comes to the hydrotherapy pool, she not only gets exercise, she gets the benefits of the warm water.
"It soothes you," says Arlene.
"Arlene came with goals of increasing her range of motion and decreasing her pain. She lives alone so she wants to put off having surgery. She is meeting all of those goals," says Jamie Crane.
It's also great to work out with friend, people who are going through the same things. So, it's a social outlet as well.
She may not be having as much fun as Clint, but both of them tend to leave here with a smile on their face.
Sunday, March 9 2014 8:57 AM EDT2014-03-09 12:57:59 GMT
The Class B Boys season wrapped up the state tournament tonight in Grand Forks. Fargo Oak Groves defeated Rugby 68 to 58 in overtime fashion. North Star defeated the Lions from Linton-HMB 60 to 49 in the
The Class B Boys season wrapped up the state tournament tonight in Grand Forks.
Sunday, March 9 2014 8:54 AM EDT2014-03-09 12:54:06 GMT
The Century Patriots took home 1st place overall in the Swim and Dive State event finishing with 349 points. Followed by Minot with 323 points. North Fargo took home 3rd place overall at 297 points. West
The Century Patriots took home 1st place overall in the Swim and Dive State event finishing with 349 points.
Sunday, March 9 2014 8:50 AM EDT2014-03-09 12:50:18 GMT
The West Region Class A boys and girls basketball season concluded play today, and the state qualifiers are set. On the girls side Bismarck High won the tournament with a 64 to 61 win over Century. Both
The West Region Class A boys and girls basketball season concluded play today, and the state qualifiers are set.
Sunday, March 9 2014 8:48 AM EDT2014-03-09 12:48:30 GMT
Chair-lifts were packed and tube runs were full, as hundreds of families enjoyed a day at the Bottineau Winter Park. But Saturday was no ordinary day in the Turtle Mountains. It's was the grand opening
Saturday was no ordinary day in the Turtle Mountains. It's was the grand opening of Annie's House, a new ski-lodge and adaptive center.
Evangelist Franklin Graham prayed on a sidewalk outside the Pentagon Thursday after his invitation to a prayer service inside was withdrawn because of comments that insulted people of other religions. More>>
NBC North Dakota News has launched a new channel -- Me-TV North Dakota! If you love the classics, Me-TV North Dakota has them.
NBC North Dakota News has launched a new channel -- Me-TV North Dakota! If you love the classics, Me-TV North Dakota has them. Me-TV North Dakota will also play a replay on the Evening and Night Report at 11:30pm Monday-Friday. As well as, local news and weather updates throughout the day.