Graduates of the Rehabilitation Program at MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach celebrated their rehabilitation success with a once-in-a-lifetime tour of the Taco Bell global headquarters in Irvine. Many of these patients survived a near-death tragedy, but their perseverance helped them survive and continue to Live Más.

During the tour, patients, their families and members of their rehabilitation team celebrated their journey to recovery. These patients survived a variety of traumatic events including car accidents, brain injuries, rheumatological and other neurological disorders. Each patient worked with dedicated doctors, therapists and other rehabilitation professionals to reach major milestones in their rehabilitation. Some of them worked for years to re-learn how to talk, walk and eat again.

“The patients who joined the Taco Bell tour have boldly persisted with their rehabilitation therapies and made remarkable recoveries,” says Lizzie Pluskalowski, occupational therapist, Rehabilitation Program, Miller Children’s & Women’s. “Their hospitalizations seemed like distant memories as they built their own crunch wrap, taco, burrito and nacho creations.”

On the tour, the group visited the Taco Bell test kitchen where the company’s food innovation team dreams up new menu items. While there, they were able to explore and mix a variety of ingredients to create their own dishes.

“This event was a great way to celebrate our rehabilitation ‘alumni’.” says Pluskalowski. “It is incredible to see how much progress they have made.”

The Rehabilitation Program at Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach offers extensive rehabilitation therapy for children from birth to 21-years-of-age, including physical, occupational, speech and recreational therapy. The rehabilitation care team sees children with a wide range of conditions and creates individualized treatment plans to help each child gain or regain as much function as possible. The Rehabilitation Program provides rehabilitation therapies both during a child’s stay in the hospital and through follow-up care in the Outpatient Specialty Centers and has a total of five rehabilitation gyms in various locations.