For Jeanine Schierbecker, service to her neuromuscular patients, her family, friends and the community is a way of life. Born and raised in Jennings, Missouri, Jeanine started volunteering in the local hospital therapy department during high school. She was inspired to pursue a career in health care, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Physical Therapy in 1982 and a Master’s degree in Health Science at Washington University in St. Louis in 1992. She joined the Irene Walter Johnson Institute of Rehabilitation at WUSTL in 1983. By 1986, Jeanine was teaching and coordinating classes at the Physical Therapy Program at WUSTL including collaborations in research and the development of standardized outcome measures with the Neuromuscular Research team at WUSTL.
In 1986, Jeanine began spending one day a week in the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) clinic, working with patients with neuromuscular disorders. Her work in the clinic quickly led to volunteering annually at the weeklong MDA Summer Camp at Babler State Park for children who are affected by a neuromuscular disease. She has recruited volunteers to assist one-on-one with campers and helped train camp volunteers, counselors and medical staff. In her 23 years of volunteer service to the MDA, Jeanine has served in a variety of capacities, including membership on the patient service committee, executive committee, public health education committee, and as a Labor Day Telethon volunteer.
Jeanine provides much more then rote professional advice as a physical therapist. She provides emotional, physical and psychological support. Throughout her years of service, she has formed a bond with the patients and their families. She knows all of them on a first name basis and they know her. On several occasions, she’s provided outreach services, making home visits for many families.
As an extension of her professional and voluntary duties, Jeanine unselfishly gives her time to serve as a caregiver for a close family friend who is living with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). She spends every Sunday assisting him with tasks many of us take for granted, such as getting out of bed, bathing and dressing.
In addition, Jeanine is a devoted wife, sister and mother of two sons. She helps with endless fundraising efforts for her family’s school, band and sports teams – including campaigning for bond initiatives. Nominated for this award by nine of her colleagues, “Jeanine typifies the best sort of person we all aspire to become. She does it quietly, without fanfare or expectation of recognition.”