Skip to main content

Buffalo Hospital

Jennifer Malinski's story

Jennifer Malinski

Jennifer Malinski is a 2013 Inspiration Award winner.

Jennifer Malinski of Buffalo, Minnesota, at age 38, developed rheumatoid arthritis and histoplasmosis and sustained a right intra-cerebral hemorrhage, all of which greatly affected her ability to work, to play, and to take care of her son and home. She was hospitalized at Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute – Abbott Northwestern Hospital and followed up with outpatient therapy at Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute – Buffalo.

Malinski’s initial challenges included mobility and cognitive difficulties, spasticity and pain. She made significant progress through therapy, but experienced setbacks when she had a second stroke that affected her vision and her mobility on her left side. She also had severe headaches, dizziness, back pain, lymphedema and fatigue.

Despite these setbacks, Malinski’s therapists at the Buffalo site – M. Penny Bartzen, OTR/L and Tracy DeWolfe, PT, CLT, STAR/C – emphasize that she has applied herself diligently to the prescribed exercises and is beginning to resume her household functions, including caring for the family dog’s new puppies. Her walking has improved significantly, and she is regaining shoulder and finger motions. “Jennifer delights in wiggling her fingers at us,” said Bartzen and DeWolfe, acknowledging Malinski’s sense of humor. They continue to be amazed at her progress and her commitment to “get her life back.”

Throughout her journey, Malinski’s husband, son and extended family have been a great source of support. They participated together in the Strides for Stroke event last May. Her husband has documented her recovery in a blog which he still maintains, so that her progress can be an ongoing inspiration to others with similar challenges.