By Abby

Warm Welcome to Our Fall NEU PT Students

Here's Ariane!

Ariane shares how yoga has helped her find a deeper connection with physical therapy and how it can relate to her approach when treating her patients. 

Hi everyone! 

My name is Ariane, I grew up in Brookline, MA and did my undergrad at Ithaca College in upstate New York. I am currently attending Northeastern University’s DPT program. The more I learn and the more I am immersed within the field of physical therapy, the more I know I’m in the right place. Although this is now, my initial draw to physical therapy came about during my yoga teacher training. During my training I was lucky to become part of an extraordinary community of women who I saw as both empowering and empowered. In the company of these women’s experiences, I found myself surrounded by mothers, survivors, teachers, clinicians, counselors, women from all walks of life and educational backgrounds, women who turned to yoga for far more than a physical experience.

My yoga teacher training opened my eyes to a new way of thinking about yoga and in turn a new way of thinking about health. Physical therapy has always resonated with me. What stood out to me was not only the holistic approach to healing, but also the emphasis on interpersonal communication and genuine connections with patients. 

I believe physical therapy is a practice that shows people just how capable they really are. 

I wanted to do my co-op in Hawaii because I wanted to get out of my bubble and step outside my comfort zone. I wanted to live and learn in a place that was not like what I knew. 

The kind of therapist I hope to be, is one who exudes openness and passion. I want to be the kind of therapist whose patients feel like they can be their true selves. I believe this fosters trust. I want to be a therapist that patients look forward to coming back to, who they want to update on their lives… of course I hope to be a great and knowledgeable practitioner too…but who doesn’t? A physical therapist is so much more than that. Most of all, I hope to provide a safe space for all those I treat. 

The greatest influences in my life are by far my parents. I have never known two people as selfless as they. To grow up and feel their love for me is the greatest gift in the world. My parents showed me everything I believe about the importance of kindness and respect. I hope to embody these values through my practice.

By Abby

Warm Welcome to our Fall NEU PT Students

Hello to Gail!

Gail tells us about a few of the things she has experienced in her first month in Hawaii and what she looks forward to with the rest of her Co-op journey.

Aloha! My name is Gail and I went to Hickory High School in Virginia and currently attend Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts for Physical Therapy. Growing up I knew I wanted to do something in the healthcare field but didn’t like the idea of spending little time with patients and using surgery.  or medication as a form of treatment. I was attracted to PT because of the interactions with patients, being able to use exercise as medicine, and getting to work with the patient through their entire rehab process.

I wanted to do my co-op in Hawaii because at Fukuji and Lum, they have a whole body approach when treating patients which is not common on the mainland. Hawaii had always been on my bucket list of places I wanted to visit and I could not say no to the opportunity to spend six months on Oahu.

So far my experience has been nothing but extraordinary! In the first month I have surfed on the North Shore, swam with sharks with One Ocean, gone on hikes, snorkeled with turtles, and experienced many of the beautiful beaches the island has to offer.  While I wouldn’t consider anything I have eaten in Hawaii strange, I have had the freshest poke ever and it was delicious. Before the six months are over I want to visit all the main islands, take hula dancing lessons, hike stairway to heaven, take the ATV tour at Kualoa Ranch, visit Pearl Harbor, and continue experiencing the Aloha spirit!

Inside the clinic I have been able to experience aquatic therapy and PRI which I never got to experience during my observation hours. As a PT I hope to work in an outpatient orthopedic clinic and work with athletes. I hope to emphasize quality over quantity when it comes to patient care and use a whole body approach similar to Fukuji and Lum. 

By Abby

Warm Welcome to Our Fall NEU PT Students

Aloha, Olivia!

Aloha! How’s it!? I’m Olivia, I’m originally from Guilford, Connecticut and go to Northeastern University  to achieve my Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. I have the pleasure of completing my co-op at Fukuji  and Lum so I will be living it up in Hawaii for six months! I am so grateful to have the opportunity to  prepare for my career in such an enriching and loving environment surrounded by such welcoming  people that I will be able to call my Ohana. My fellow students and I were told a mantra that we cannot say no during our time out here, so I’m stoked to see whatever Hawaii will throw my way. But please, no  more cockroaches! 

What drew you to physical therapy? What kind of therapist do you hope to be?

Back in high school, when I was choosing a major for my undergraduate university, I knew in my heart  that I wanted to go into the medical field and be a physical therapist. The profession upholds such core  values that I wholeheartedly believe in. I have always been fond of the phrase and way of living that  exercise is medicine. Our bodies are miracles, and it’s only right that we treat ourselves with the best  self-love and self-care. My favorite quote is that “our biggest commitment must always be to ourselves.”  I think it is wonderful and so humbling that physical therapy allows me to be an influence for someone  else to help care for and commit to themselves. I hope to be the type of therapist that will inspire my  patients to prioritize their health and view their body as strong, capable, and most importantly, resilient.  I treasure how vulnerable patient care can be, and I hope to be a trustworthy and uplifting guide for all  that will let me. I believe I will be able to cultivate the dream I have, and my experience at Fukuji and  Lum will prepare me to accomplish all my goals. 

Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii? What has been your experience like so far?

I think this answer is pretty self-explanatory. I mean, it’s Hawaii! But what really drew me to fulfill my  co-op in Hawaii was the Fukuji and Lum ohana and their values. Through research and communication  from past co-op students, I was told how this experience is life changing. The physical therapists will  challenge me and expect me to step out of my comfort zone to ultimately make me think like a clinician  and speak with conviction. After my interview, I knew in my heart that I was destined to come to Hawaii  and not only grow professionally, but personally. In the past month I have been here, that has been the  ultimate truth. I have been challenged in the best way possible, and truly feel like each day has been fulfilled physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I am so excited to see what else Hawaii and Fukuji and  Lum can teach me in the next five months I am here. 

What is on your to-do list while here? 

While I’m here, I hope to gain more confidence with my clinical skills and learn something from every  person I come into contact with. Furthermore, I hope to experience all of Earth’s wonderful creations while I am in this magical place. From swimming, surfing, cliff jumping, hiking, going to farmer’s markets,  and basking in the sun, I want to leave Hawaii with no regrets. Maybe I’ll even be talked into skydiving. This environment has made me feel so connected to the Earth and feel like I am home. There must be  something in the water 🙂 

Mahalo, be well <3  

Olivia

By Abby

Warm Welcome to Our Fall NEU PT Students

Hello to Alice!

Alice shares what physical therapy means to her and what makes her excited to be in Hawaii this semester!

What school did you attend in high school and what's your current college?

High school: St. Joseph’s Central High School in Pittsfield, MA

Current College: Northeastern University

What drew you to physical therapy?

My mother is a physical therapist who has been practicing for 35 years. My mother, as well as many of her co-workers have worked in the same location for over 10 years. They happily share how being a physical therapist makes them feel fulfilled both personally and professionally. When exploring possible healthcare careers I searched for paths that would allow me the same. I wanted to impact patients both physically and support them psychosocially. As I went through my own injuries and experienced this, I then knew I wanted to be able to give that back to my community no matter where I was located.

Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?

After graduating from Lasell University with my undergraduate degree in Exercise Science, I applied to both physical therapy programs, as well as tried out for a Team USA synchronized figure skating team in New York City. I was selected for The Team and therefore took 3 gap years before starting the DPT program at Northeastern University. During this time the team and I traveled to many countries in Europe where my love for travel and adventure flourished.  Because of these experiences I knew that when I re-entered school I wanted to have my co-op and clinical experiences all over the country to further push my personal and professional development. I had been to Hawaii one time before and absolutely fell in love!! When I learned that Northeastern offered both co-op and clinical opportunities here it was a no brainer to apply for it.

What has been your experience like so far?

So far by experience has been amazing! Hawaii is beautiful, especially how interconnected the land and sea is. It reminds me a lot of my home area of Berkshire County in Massachusetts with our mountains and lakes. In the short 3 weeks that we have been here we have free dove with sharks without a cage or supplemental oxygen, snorkeled with sea turtles, taken surfing lessons, visited the Dole Pineapple Plantation, and hiked Diamond Head as well as the pillbox in Kailua for sunrise! Lastly, all of the staff at Fukiji and Lum, as well as within the community have been extremely patient, kind, and helpful during our transition here.

What's the strangest thing that you've eaten since arriving?

The strangest thing that I have eaten so far has been eel on our sushi at orientation. But I have also tried cherimoya, lei hing powder on fruit, and ube pancakes. I am an adventurous eater and will try anything once! Send the food recommendations my way!

What is on your to-do list while here?

EVERYTHING! But my biggest to do is to travel to each Hawaiian island to experience each’s unique beauty and to-do’s from locals and visitors.

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?

The kind of therapist that I hope to be is kind, a good listener, someone who will go out of their way for the betterment of their patients and a forever student.

Who is your greatest influence in your life?

It takes a tribe to get through life. There is not one single person who has been the greatest influence in my life. Every person that I come in contact teaches me something new about the world, or myself.

By Abby

Introducing our Spring Semester NEU PT Students!

Aloha Angela!

Angela tells us about how she became interested in becoming a physical therapist, what drew her to take this opportunity with F&L, and why she is loving her experience so far.

Hello everyone! I am Angela from Sammamish, Washington. I am currently in my fourth year of six at Northeastern University studying Physical Therapy. When I first accepted my offer to work here, it almost seemed too good to be true that I would be escaping the Boston winter to live in Hawaii for six months. I didn’t fully believe it until my plane physically landed on the island, and sometimes I still feel like I’m dreaming. So far, I am happy to be working at Fukuji & Lum Physical Therapy in the LA clinic and pool and have enjoyed getting to know my coworkers and all the patients. 

What drew you to physical therapy?

Though I had many interests in different potential careers while applying to colleges, the one thing I knew I wanted to do was to help people and take care of people directly. I grew up swimming, playing tennis, and running, which initiated my interest in human anatomy and physiology. I combined my hope to help others with those interests and realized that a career in healthcare, specifically physical therapy, would allow me to make a difference in a setting that suited me. Learning more about health through my college courses has also further confirmed my choice of a career in PT, and it has been so fascinating applying what I have learned in class with what I see daily at F&L!

Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?

I wanted to co-op in Hawaii because I knew this opportunity would allow me to make the most of my co-op experience both in and outside of work. As much as I love Boston, I felt that I was too comfortable there and wanted to seek an experience where I could be challenged in a completely new environment. I have always been an adventurous person and loved traveling to new places, so this was the perfect way for me to immerse myself in another culture.

I worked at an inpatient setting for my first co-op, so for my last co-op I knew that I wanted work experience at an outpatient clinic. After talking to past co-ops of F&L I quickly learned that F&L was more than just a typical outpatient clinic, but a company that strives to treat everyone like a family. I knew that living and working in a place where the culture is so generous and kind-hearted would help me grow into a better future PT. Even though I’ve only been here for a month, I have already witnessed so much kindness from everyone at F&L and learned so much. My co-workers really go out of their way to teach me different exercises and explain their reasoning behind different treatment options for patients. For example, in my first week of work, Connor showed me how to cup and use Graston during her free time, and Colleen always has continued to keep me busy and let me go through exercises with patients. The pandemic may have slowed the pace of the clinic, but it is actually helping me understand the patients’ cases and PT’s rationale in more depth. Just observing how the staff treat their patients has also given me insight on how to go above and beyond in patient care. From the smaller acts such as walking a patient back to their car to make sure they are safe, to bigger acts such as supporting a patient’s local business on the weekend, the staff have set an example on how patient care is more than treating an injury. I hope to bring back this perspective and build on this for the rest of my career. 

What has been your experience like so far?

Outside of work, my experience in Hawaii has been so fun! With the pandemic, I am very grateful that I can still safely do many of the activities I have hoped to do before, since there is so much to do outdoors. I’ve enjoyed getting to know the other co-ops and we have already had some pretty unforgettable experiences such as driving into a flying chicken, and getting bullied by the waves at Bellows (there was sand in my hair for days). I have quickly learned that I am allergic to mosquitos, and that bug spray and sunscreen are my best friends. We have been on a few hikes such as Lanikai Pillbox for sunrise, Lulumahu Falls, and Koko Head Arch. We love going to the beach (Castles is our favorite!), and have tried so many delicious food places such as the soft serve from Banan and poke from Fresh Catch. I have also really enjoyed being able to capture photos of the different beautiful landscapes, and hope to take photos during more hikes in the next several months. I would like to kayak to the Mokes, and possibly even swim to the Mokes if I ever build up my endurance. I want to hike Stairway to Heaven and go to the Pink Pillbox. We also made plans to skydive on our last day in Hawaii. 

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?

Being exposed to both an inpatient and outpatient PT setting, I am still having a hard time figuring out which setting I like best. I love being in a hospital setting, but I also love the type of problem solving PTs do in an outpatient setting. Travel PT once I graduate may be an opportunity for me to work in both settings as well as experience new places. However, from both classes and co-op, it is safe to say that I am interested in pediatrics and neurology, and may specialize in one of them in the future. I still have a lot of time to think about what kind of therapist I want to be and still have so much to learn.

Who is your greatest influence in your life?

The greatest influence in my life is probably my parents and grandma. They inspired me to work hard and have integrity, and make the most of every opportunity. Hearing about how hard they worked to move from Taiwan to America for further education has inspired me greatly to never give up and follow my passions. My grandma had a challenging upbringing and faced many difficulties throughout her life, but when you meet her, she is full of joy. Seeing how positive she constantly is encourages me to look at life differently and see the good in every situation. 

 

By Abby

Introducing our Spring Semester NEU PT Students!

Welcome, Maddie!

Maddie is a fourth year student at Northeastern University and writes about her excitement to live in a different part of the country, working towards her goal of becoming a physical therapist. We are so excited for Maddie to join our F&L 'Ohana!

 

What school did you attend in high school and what's your current college?

Hi I’m Maddie! I grew up in Arcadia, California which is a suburb of Los Angeles, and attended Arcadia High School. I applied to many different colleges, but as soon as I was accepted into the DPT program at Northeastern University I accepted without so much as a campus tour or visit, I was so excited to move across the country and start a new journey. Little did I know back then that I would be moving across the country again 4 years later to work here at Fukuji & Lum for six months. 

What drew you to physical therapy?

There is no one reason that I chose physical therapy as my profession, but rather when I looked at the sum of my personality traits and interests it just made sense. I grew up doing ballet, and have been dancing basically since I learned how to walk. Growing up dancing provided me with a huge appreciation of human movement, it taught me that movement can be not only functional, but actually beautiful. As I got older and saw how different injuries affected the lives of people I knew, dancers and regular people alike- I knew that was something that I wanted to help people with. I also knew that I would function better in an active career where I am physically and mentally challenged. These things, combined with my interest in science and problem-solving nature, led me to choose physical therapy. 

Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii? What has been your experience like so far? What is on your to-do list while here?

Ever since hearing about this co-op opportunity when I was a freshman in college, I knew I wanted to come here. I am an adventurous person, and am always seeking out new opportunities and experiences, so as hard as it was to decide to leave my friends and the home I had created in Boston, applying to come work here in Hawaii was a step I was excited to take. Especially during a pandemic, I am so grateful to have the opportunity to travel and explore Hawaii while also getting valuable clinical experience. So far, I have had an incredible experience here in Hawaii, being here has given me so many opportunities to push the boundaries of what I thought I could do, both in the clinic and outside of it. I am so grateful to all the staff members that I have worked with so far at F&L for being such inspiring and effective therapists, and especially for taking the extra time and energy to always include me and create learning opportunities along the way. Outside of the clinic, I have been able to explore the island, going on different hikes and adventures every weekend, and trying new Hawaiian foods. From relaxing beach days to strenuous hikes that result in being covered in mud head to toe to the mask tan I have from working at the pool, I can truly say I have been enjoying all aspects of life here in Hawaii. 

As much as I have already seen and done here, there is still so much left to do before I have to leave and return to Boston. The other co-ops and I have put together a list of places to see on the island, and it seems with everything we check off the list we discover even more things to add. As many fun activities that we planned, some of the best things that have happened have been unplanned. Going on a hike and making a wrong turn led us to an even more beautiful lookout, driving to the beach for a sunset swim after getting off work early, and even helping an injured stranger make it to the end of a hike; all of these things were not on our to-do list but are still some of the most memorable experiences I’ve had.    

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?  Who is your greatest influence in your life?

Based on the experiences here at Fukuji & Lum as well as different physical therapy settings, I have seen the effect that a patient's comfort level and general happiness have on their outcomes. With that in mind, when I graduate from PT school in 2 years, I hope to be the kind of therapist that patients can rely on to always act in their best interests and put a smile on their faces despite the pain they might be in. From what I have learned so far, this trust is built through the small gestures we do: diving into the pool to look for a lost ring in the pouring rain, supporting a patient’s business on the weekends, or simply walking a patient to their car. Since the start of the pandemic, I think the whole world has started seeing healthcare workers in a different light, and I have been truly amazed at the kindness and compassion I have witnessed from both my coworkers and patients.  When I think about what kind of therapist I want to be in the future,  that is undoubtedly influenced by my parents and extended family who raised me to be the person I am now.  My grandparents are lifelong artists and have led such amazing and unique lives, and have truly shaped the way I see the world. They have always gone out of their way to show me the beauty in the world, whether that is through hiking in nature, taking my brother and I to their art exhibitions, or just hanging out and playing hearts. The fun, happy and love-filled life they created for themselves has inspired me to embrace who I am and do the same. 

 

By Abby

Introducing our Spring Semester NEU PT Students!

Introducing Kristin!

Kristin shares how she strives to nurture relationships, expand her knowledge, and be innovative during her studies. She writes about her experience thus far as a co-op and what she looks forward to during her time in Hawaii.

Aloha! My name is Kristin. I am originally from Southern California and  currently attend Northeastern University in Boston. I am a fourth-year physical therapy major  and chose this career path because of the hands-on involvement in a patient’s rehabilitation  journey. I love that we are able to form relationships and guide patients to healthier and more  active lifestyles. To me, physical therapy is so much more than a major. We have the ability to  shape lives and support patients when they are struggling with pain. We are PTs, educators,  cheerleaders, and confidants all rolled up in one— this is my favorite aspect about the  profession. 

Prior to my co-op at Fukuji and Lum, I worked in an acute care setting. From there, I  knew I had to expand my horizon to outpatient physical therapy. After hearing about past co-op experiences, I jumped at the opportunity to work at F&L. I am so glad I did because I currently  have the privilege of learning from physical therapists with different specialties and interests,  each with a unique way to approach and treat patients. As a student who is eager to soak up  everything, it means so much to me that staff are willing to share previous lectures and provide tips to make me a better physical therapist. I think this speaks to the supportive and collaborative community at F&L.

My experience in Hawaii has been nothing short of amazing. Outside of work, the other  co-ops and I are busy exploring the island and using every excuse to get shave ice and poke. We  have a list of recommended restaurants and hikes we are working through, and we are looking  forward to adding to it! We have big plans to go surfing and are building up to it by watching  Surf’s Up and wearing goggles around the house. 

Although I am still new to physical therapy, I have been fortunate enough to work with  some of the most talented, knowledgeable and passionate physical therapists. They have  repeatedly shown me the impact of compassion, kindness, and patience, and I hope to embody  those characteristics as a future clinician. My past mentor always encouraged me to think outside  the box and strive for creative treatment customized for each patient. This encouraged me to  constantly improve and innovate my approach to treatment.  

There are many people that influenced who I am today, but the person closest to my heart  is my sister. My sister is the most selfless and warm-hearted person I know and makes everyone  else around better. I am constantly amazed by her, and I aspire to be half the woman she is!

By Deb Matsuura

Northeastern PT Student Coop Reflection 2020

Claire Reflects on Her Growth as a Coop

We asked Claire a few questions about her time with Fukuji & Lum and to reflect on her experience in the clinic and living in Hawaii.

What was the one experience that you think was the highlight, both inside and outside of the clinic?

A little bit of context: I had the opportunity to work at almost all the clinics throughout my six months at F&L. I started, and worked primarily, at the Kailua clinic, with a weekly trip into town to the Honolulu clinic. Towards the middle of my co-op, I spent most of my time at the Kokokahi YWCA aquatics site. For my final two months, I worked mostly at the Laniakea YWCA pool, with a day or two per week at the Kokokahi pool. My final day of co-op, though, was spent working at the Kailua office. On that last day, I felt confident in my ability to take patients through their exercises and write their notes, which was a huge change from the start of my co-op. It was rewarding and fulfilling to hear the Kailua team tell me how much I had grown and how excited they were for me. The cool thing is that I didn’t realize how much I had grown until they told me, and I thought, “Wow, they’re right!” It was a perfect end to co-op that brought my experience full circle.

Outside of the clinic, I was fortunate to have heaps of adventures that made every outing feel like an event. It still blows my mind that activities like going to the beach and hiking are everyday activities in Hawaii, so everything felt like a highlight to me. However, swimming with sharks definitely stands out in my mind. It was a humbling, calming, and exciting experience that I will always remember. We even saw early morning surfers and Hawaiian spinner dolphins on the boat ride back to shore!

Who had the most impact on you during your time here?

So many incredible people shaped me into who I am in so many ways that I don’t think I can pick one person! I love all the clinicians, and each one had an impact on my time. The patients, however, probably taught me the most about myself and the practice of PT. They helped me discover my PT-related interests, how to interact with them in a way that was both professional and fun, how to problem solve, and more. I enjoyed having fun conversations with the patients and enjoyed their company in general! I remember looking at the schedule and being excited about who was coming in each day. They frequently gave me awesome recommendations on things to do and foods to try.

What was the most surprising thing that you did not expect to learn?

I hoped that I would get to learn about and get a good feel for Hawaiian culture, but I had no idea that it would embrace me, too. From the atmosphere on Aloha Fridays, to learning Pidgin and other local phrases, to the widespread Aloha Spirit, I felt like I was part of the community, not just an outsider looking in. Also, I did not expect to acquire an affinity for reggae music. I’ve concluded that you can’t listen to reggae music and not be in a good mood afterward 🙂

If you had to choose one word about your experience, what word would you choose?

Growth.

Towards the end of my co-op, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work more closely with Art, and whenever we saw a particular patient, we each chose a “word of the day.” A few of our words included: gratitude, peace, humanity, faith, celebrate, malama, Aloha mai kākou, etc. Reflecting on those conversations, I realize that everything comes back to growth. I have grown in my understanding of myself and others, embracing my environment, being a professional, countless ways to be a good PT, and so much more. The most important part, though, is that I left knowing that you can always keep growing in every aspect of life.

From this experience, what intentions will you have going forward with your career?

In short, I plan to keep growing! I was surprised to learn that I am interested in neurology and have specific interests within orthopedics. With that in mind, I will be open to whatever opportunities arise in the future, even if it is something that I think I am not interested in. However my career progresses, I will treat patients with the same compassion and kindness that I witnessed throughout F&L.

By Deb Matsuura

Introducing our NEU Fall Semester PT Students!

Welcome Claire to the F&L 'Ohana!

Hello! I’m Claire, a graduate of Fox Chapel High School in Pittsburgh, PA and a current a third-year physical therapy student at Northeastern University in Boston.

From a young age, I was interested in pursuing a career in physical therapy. When I combined all of my interests and passions, physical therapy checked off all of my boxes: helping others, physically and mentally challenging activities, and medicine. Growing up, I had my fair share of bumps and bruises that taught me how valuable independence is in one’s own life. I became increasingly aware of the pains and struggles of the people around me and the toll it took on their physical, mental, and emotional health. Eventually, I grew passionate about the ability to function independently. In hindsight, it seems obvious to me that physical therapy is the right career for me, but I actually entered college as a product design major, which I quickly changed. Once I started taking physical therapy-related classes, I developed an ongoing gut feeling that I had chosen to follow the right path for me; since changing my major, I felt noticeably happier and looked forward to going to my classes.

While searching for co-ops this past spring, I felt that same surge of enthusiasm when I was introduced to Fukuji & Lum. Between reading about the company culture and hearing testimonies from previous F&L co-op students, I was excited to have found a company that embodies the same values that I hold. Someday, I hope to practice physical therapy with integrity, continued personal and professional growth, compassion, and joy.

 

My time at F&L, and Hawaii in general, has been full of opportunities for growth. I remember driving home from buying a car and seeing a sign on the side of the road that read “Drive with Aloha.” I couldn’t help but smile and feel a calming reassurance that good things were waiting ahead in the next six months. In order to fully immerse myself in the Hawaii experience, I have tried to push the boundaries of my comfort zone by trying new foods, like dried seaweed, and testing out therapeutic treatments that I had never done before, such as scar mobilization. I’ve even developed the confidence to (safely) explore the island on my own! I have a long list of activities to do and places to see while I’m here, which includes swimming, snorkeling, surfing, hiking, and swimming with sharks once the beaches, parks, and trails reopen. Most importantly, I want to be open to all of the unexpected opportunities that pop up along my adventure. I am grateful for all of the recommendations I have received form co-workers and patients, and I can’t wait to do as many of them as I can.

I am grateful for my family, who have supported me throughout my life by encouraging me to pursue my passions, persevere during difficult times, and find the positives every step of the journey. Without my parents, brothers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and unofficial family, I can’t begin to imagine where I would be. I look forward to continuing to embrace Aloha Spirit, absorbing the plethora of knowledge around me, and accepting whatever else comes my way.

By Deb Matsuura

Introducing our NEU Fall Semester PT Students!

Welcome Helen to the F&L 'Ohana!

I attended South Burlington High School in South Burlington, Vermont, and I currently attend Northeastern University, in Boston, Massachusetts. I first became interested in physical therapy when I broke my ankle playing tennis in high school. After my cast was removed, I began physical therapy and my therapist treated my ankle and then sent me back to play again. When I returned to the court, I was plagued by knee problems, so I headed back to physical therapy, but this time to a different therapist. This therapist took a holistic approach to my treatment and explained how my knee problems were a result of muscle weakness from my ankle injury. She helped me return to my preinjury state, as well as further strengthen me and as a result, improve my performance on the court. I was fascinated by the fact that my ankle injury recovery involved strengthening so many different parts of my body, as I hadn’t realized just how intertwined everything was. When I graduate, I hope to become an outpatient physical therapist. I’m not yet sure what population of patients I’d like to work with, but I do know that I would like to take a very holistic approach to treating my patients so that I can help them recover as much as possible.

I won’t deny that when I first heard about this coop, I was interested by the fact that it was in Hawaii. However, the more I learned about it, the more I realized just how unique the opportunity was. I realized that moving 5000 miles away from home for a position that would introduce me to so many important parts of my field would help me grow so much both personally and professionally. And doing that all while dealing with a pandemic has only increased my opportunity to grow. Just over two months into this experience, I have learned and done more in the clinic than I ever thought I would in my six months here. It has been challenging to adjust to living and working here and explore the island during a pandemic, but the opportunities I have been given as a physical therapy coop student at Fukuji & Lum make it all worthwhile.

In my free time, I have been trying to explore the island of Oahu as much as possible. Before the current restrictions were put into place, I enjoyed watching the sunrise from Lanikai Beach and hiking the Lanikai Pillbox Hike and the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail. Since the restrictions have been increased, I have spent most of my time reading and enjoying the view of the ocean from our porch. As things (hopefully) start to open back up, I would really like to go snorkeling in Hanauma Bay, see the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens, and go to the Sunrise Shack. I have had some delicious açai bowls and smoothies since I have been here, as well as some really interesting fruit. I tried papaya and dragonfruit for the first time recently, and I am still not really sure how I feel about them.

As I continue to experience this amazing opportunity over the next several months, I feel so grateful for my mom and the influence she has had on me. She has always served as an example to me to work hard and always give your best effort. Despite her initial concerns about me moving thousands of miles away from her for six months, she has been nothing but supportive of my choice to pursue physical therapy as a career and take advantage of this opportunity offered by Fukuji & Lum. She has been so helpful to me throughout this experience and I feel lucky that I can FaceTime her and she’ll be there to hear about my day, give me advice, or even just give our cat Lucy some kisses for me.

Helen