Kristin Marquardt Beck has a journalism degree and has worked with AmeriCorps. She lives with her husband, Monlo, in Twin Falls, Idaho where she freelances in the area and for a newspaper in Utah. She also volunteers year round as a graphic designer for the therapeutic riding center in Twin Falls, where she participates in her new found passion, hippotherapy.
That’s a pretty typical story for a unique young woman. As a baby, Kristin was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. Today Kristin credits Boyer Children’s Clinic and her family as “instrumental” in her independence.
Kristin began attending Boyer when she was two-years-old and continued with therapy at Boyer until she was 17. “My parents forced me to stretch beyond my comfort zone all the time,” she says. She recalls the time her mom insisted on sending her to a summer camp against her wishes. “She literally put me on the bus kicking and screaming,” she says with a laugh.
Early on, Kristin’s parents let her make some significant decisions about her own future. When she was eight, Kristin chose a power wheelchair over a manual chair, essentially opting to work more on her fine motor skills than her gross motor skills. Today those skills help her work in a computer-dependent environment. “Everything is a trade-off, and you have to learn to make hard decisions.”
These experiences and the support of her parents gave her the determination to reach her goals. “You have to tell your kids over and over: ‘You can do it.’ Even if you have limitations, you can stretch beyond them.” That’s a message Kristin is passing on to future generations of kids through Monlo, who became interested in physical therapy after hearing Kristin talk about her experience at Boyer. Married to Kristin since 2002, Monlo graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in physical therapy in 2009, he currently works with pediatric and geriatric patients, and is pursuing further training in hippotherapy.
Monlo’s studies brought him and Kristin back to Seattle for a visit to Boyer Children’s Clinic, “Boyer’s just one of those things that doesn’t end,” Kristin says. “It’s affected my life and my parents’ lives to this day.”
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