Stephen Gao spends long hours managing China Palace, the Fulton restaurant that’s been in his family since 1998. After his mother, Ling Ling Wang, had a knee replacement, he spent his free time driving her to Columbia for physical therapy appointments.
“In our culture, we take care of our elders, because when we were young, they took care of us,” Gao said.
In October, when MU Health Care opened a Mizzou Therapy Services clinic in Fulton, Wang was the first patient to schedule an appointment with physical therapist Sarah Moore, DPT. The convenient location saved time for Wang and her son. “She provided good service, very friendly and patient,” Wang said.
The Fulton clinic is a partnership between MU Health Care and the YMCA of Callaway County.
“My job is to not only help patients reach their rehabilitation goals but to educate each patient on the importance of continuing an exercise program for life,” Moore said. “The YMCA is a great environment for PT to take place, because the patients get to know the staff, other members and feel comfortable using the equipment. I encourage previous, current and prospective patients to stop by my office anytime for guidance. It’s a great continuum of care.”
Gao had never been to the YMCA until he took his mom to her therapy appointments. He became a Y member and now plays pickleball there at least once a week.
“MU Health Care wants people to go through therapy and not have to come back,” said Sara McDaniel, the CEO of the YMCA of Callaway County. “They want them to be on the healthy pathway. Our goal at the Y is to be that entity where people can come to help them live a healthy lifestyle.”
Moore worked with Wang for six weeks, improving her knee’s strength and range of motion. By the time she graduated, Wang could walk without a cane and use the stairs without fear of falling.
Now, Wang is again able to babysit Gao’s son while he works at the family restaurant.
“She’s retired,” Gao said, “but she still helps me.”