'Candy Man' Shares Treats, Encouragement With Patients

Wednesday, December 21st 2011, 7:51 pm
By: News 9

A severe stroke changed the way he functioned, but the decision to change his outlook on life was his own.

Ridge Hooks checked out of the hospital last December, but he keeps coming back.  He's become sort of a fixture at Jim Thorpe Rehabilitation at Baptist Medical Center over the past year. 

Hooks suffered a stroke in early December of 2010.  He spent three weeks in the hospital and got to go home just before Christmas.  He's made major progress but still receives outpatient therapy.

That hasn't kept Hooks from his rounds though.  The "candy man," as he's called, still visits Jim Thorpe often.  He hands out not just candy but encouragement.

"I tell the patients 'Wipe the screen clean,'" said Hooks.  "Don't worry about the things you can't do, just focus on the things you can do."

According to Hooks, he had to re-learn how to walk, talk, and even chew gum.

"I know there's things that I'll never do that I did once," Hooks said.  "But you know, I find now things that I can do, things that I hadn't even worked on before."