Ruth Vallis

For almost 30 years, Ruth has been a legendary staff member of the Musculoskeletal (MSK) Rehab Program. She works with patients receiving rehabilitation for many issues, including multiple traumas and hip fractures. Her specialty is hydrotherapy, where she works with patients in the MacMillan Family Therapy Pool.

Legally blind since the age of two, Ruth knows what patients are living with. “My patients want to do well because they know I understand; they see that I take my disability home with me every day and they don’t want to let me down.” She appreciates the barriers patients encounter in the community. Ruth is helped by her service dog, Ralph.

Educated in London, England, Ruth is the only totally blind person working in inpatient care at a major city hospital in the world. “All I ever wanted was to work in health care, especially in a hospital,” she says. “It’s my passion.”

She chooses to work in MSK at Toronto Rehab because of the exceptionally caring environment. “They recognize the potential in their staff,” she says. “The reason this program is so successful is because they have the same expectations of their patients.” Ruth says Toronto Rehab has changed her for the better. “All I ever wanted was to work in health care, especially at Toronto Rehab,” she says. “It’s my passion.”

Dr. John Flannery, head of the MSK Rehab Program, echoes Lynda’s sentiments. “Ruth is a unique individual who embodies perseverance and determination that is tangibly visible through her abilities as a blind physiotherapist,” he says. “Her core values include individualized compassionate care that pushes, in a kind and fun way, everyone she touches to become a more independent and self-fulfilled person.”

Grateful to be recognized by many of her former patients as a Rehab Champion, Ruth stresses that she is part of an amazing team in the MSK Rehab Program. “I really count my blessings. Working at Toronto Rehab has been a calling for me, and a dream come true,” she says. “What people don’t know is that helping patients has given me a life that is full of meaning. I really could not imagine a more worthwhile path I could have taken.”

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