Center City woman writes song, plays banjo to thank doctors who helped her

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- We all need a thank you from time to time for our work - it might be a card, some flowers, or a sweet treat. A Center City woman took it a lot further, serenading those who helped restore her health.

Sue Kettell fell in love with the banjo in the 1960s, playing it almost every day, but the music stopped last summer when she fell while jogging in Old City.

"I looked and said - oh, this is bad - I've broken my wrist," she recalled.

At Jefferson University Hospital's emergency department, x-rays showed a bad break requiring surgery. But an MRI of her head revealed an even bigger surprise.

"They came back and said - you don't have a concussion, you have a tumor the size of an orange," she said.

It was a benign, or non-cancerous, tumor that had been growing silently in her head for 15 to 20 years.

After brain surgery to remove it, walking was difficult, but Sue's number one goal was to get her hand working normally.

"I wanted to be able to play my banjo and guitar again, because I have so much fun with that," she said. "I couldn't even touch my fingers at one point."

But she accomplished her goal with the help of therapists at the Philadelphia Hand to Shoulder Center at Jefferson.

To thank them, she didn't just send a card, she wrote a song.

She mentions almost every staffer, because she says they all contributed to her recovery. They were thrilled.

"It was the first time we've ever had anyone write us a song," said one of her therapists.

Sue's hand surgeon, Dr. Adam Strohl, sees another benefit to the song.

"It's good for other patients to see - look at that lady, she's playing the banjo - I'll get there," he said.

Sue says the past year has given her deeper gratitude for all the little things in life. And she urges others to say 'thanks' more often.
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