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OT Program Receives Gift on Behalf of Late Alumna

Nancy Graff has made a gift to SHP’s Department of Occupational Therapy in honor of her late sister, Ann McLaren. McLaren graduated from MU’s Occupational Therapy program in 1978 and passed away last year after a battle with colon cancer.

After her graduation, McLaren began working at a hospital in Memphis. In 1984, she moved to Hawaii and started working as an occupational therapist in the Honolulu area, where she stayed for more than 30 years. Most recently, McLaren practiced home healthcare, helping patients gain mobility and other skills.

In her free time, McLaren was active in the Sierra Club, and enjoyed swimming for miles in the ocean, kayaking, hiking and contra dancing. She kept in touch with a large circle of friends and stayed connected with her close-knit graduating class from the OT program.

When McLaren was diagnosed with cancer she continued to use occupational therapy to help herself and others while she was sick.

“My mom was taking her to her chemo treatments while she was in her wheelchair, and she saw somebody else struggling,” Graff said. “She was using her OT skills to assist another person like ‘oh, here, put your foot this way first.’ She was helping people even when she was sick herself.”

Graff’s gift is being used by the department to support the TigerOT Clinic, and also it also provided a scholarship for on OT student, Karin Seley, to participate in a service trip to Guatemala over spring break. Seley won the scholarship with an essay that described her passion for combining occupational therapy with service to others.

To view photos from Seley’s trip, click here.

“Ann always had a passion for working with people,” Graff said. “She’d be happy to know that her memory is helping another student and helping the TigerOT Clinic.”