GAINESVILLE, TX – North Texas Medical Center’s Therapy Services department treats hundreds of patients a month. But one young patient has made quite an impression on everyone in the office.
Echo Pettigrew was born 10 weeks early and had an extensive NICU stay causing multiple health problems including torticollis (severe neck tightness) and plagiocephaly (flatness of the skull). He was unable to look side to side, tolerate tummy time or roll, which is why he was referred to physical therapy. He started therapy at NTMC when he was just 7-and-a-half months old, working with NTMC Pediatric Physical Therapist Dr. Kalyn Anderle.
“Echo was a trooper throughout his time in therapy, fighting through uncomfortable neck stretching, learning to lift his head, roll each direction, sit, crawl and now, he is up and walking,” Anderle said.
Echo’s mother, Sarah Evanowski, has enjoyed watching her son work with Dr. Anderle during their twice-weekly appointments over the course of more than a year.
It’s absolutely amazing. It’s been fun watching him grow and progress,” Evanowski said. “He is so smart. He will try and avoid her (Anderle) if he doesn’t want to do something. Watching him go from not being able to move at all to now climbing up furniture and sliding down slides, it makes me so happy. I’m so grateful for everything here.”
Evanowski was especially appreciative of the way Dr. Anderle would find special ways to connect with Echo.
“He recognizes her right away. She would wear pink because that’s his favorite color. She gets toys that she knows he would like,” the mother said. “She is really good at working with him. He will give her a hug. He really loves her and I love the way she connects with him.”
Echo recently completed his therapy sessions at NTMC, which was a bittersweet moment for Dr. Anderle and the rest of the staff in the office.
“Watching him grow and reach all these milestones has been an absolute blessing,” Anderle said. “Everyone got to know and love Echo, both the NTMC Therapy staff and other patients. Now we say congratulations. We will miss him.”
Dr. Anderle graduated from Muenster High School in 2012 and from Texas Woman’s University with a Bachelor’s degree in Child Development. She went on to Physical Therapy school and received her doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of North Texas in 2018. She has worked at North Texas Medical Center since April of 2022.
“She has a passion to help grow our pediatric physical therapy department,” said Joe Christian, NTMC Director of Therapy Services. “Since she arrived, we have seen a 200 percent increase in pediatric physical therapy patients.”
The NTMC Therapy Services department focuses on the individual in order to provide the right therapy to assist with a child’s development recovery. They care for children of all ages and treat a variety of conditions, including but not limited to traumatic injuries, congenital and development disorders, and pain disorders.
Echo’s mom definitely gives NTMC Therapy Services glowing reviews.
“If anyone has a kid that needs any help, I definitely recommend them coming to see Kalyn at NTMC,” Evanowski said.
For more information on NTMC Therapy Services, call (940) 612-8340.