Christina Santos changing lives one word at a time

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OKLAHOMA CITY -- If you look back on your life, does one person stand out? Someone who has had a profound effect on you? We want to introduce you to a young woman who has given over and above what her job requires and she has made such a difference in the lives of those she serves. She was nominated for this week's Pay it 4ward.

She gives a voice to Parkinson's patients and I mean that literally. Troyce Warren is in a very special class.

He's 84 years old; learning to speak again. His voice has been stolen by Parkinson’s disease.

"It just really hurt him," his wife, Shirley, who also felt the effects of the disease says, "He couldn't make people understand. You take for granted that you're going to be able to communicate and when you can't, it hurts him but it also hurts you for him."

Troyce Warren had been an active man. He used his retirement to fish and travel with his wife Shirley and to enjoy family until he could no longer speak.

"He was getting withdrawn," Shirley explains, "He couldn't talk where the kids or grand kids could understand him."

"Now and then he talks and they can understand him. I can't tell you how grateful I am for what she's done."

The "she" is Christina Santos. Christina specializes in helping Parkinson’s patients get their speech back. She helps them retrain their muscles to form words.

Christina got a big surprise. David Fiesel from Spirit Bank was on hand to award Christina Santos for her efforts.

“It's great to be here. It's an honor to be part of this,” Fiesel says. “From our family at Spirit Bank and KFOR, we have $400 for you to pay it forward to someone who has obviously made such a big difference in your husband's life.”

Shirley Warren and David Fiesel went to the Parkinson’s foundation offices to find Christina.

We found Christina and Shirley told her why she nominated her for this award.

“Christina, you have made such a difference in not only our life, but I'm sure in everybody else's that's been associated with you. I can't tell you how much you have meant to us and I'm sure hundreds of people's lives,” Shirley Warren says. “From Spirit Bank and NewsChannel 4 on behalf of all of us, I'd like to give you this $400 and our sincere gratitude and appreciation. Girl you deserve it so much.”

"It is my pleasure," Santos says. "Thank you so much."

"You deserve it. You're a living doll," Shirley says.

Loved by those whose lives she's changed. Christina helps them strengthen muscles that control their speech. Checking their volume on individual noise meters and sharing their joy when they can once again form words and talk.

Christina says, “I do a happy dance in the room a lot and they laugh at me. But it’s so exciting; every single person that goes through it. I'm happy they can meet their goals.

"I'm so happy with what I do here. And it makes a difference; Christina says "It's a ministry to me, yea"

Christina Santos begins working with her clients at Jim Thorpe Rehabilitation Center and then continues with them at the Parkinson’s foundation.

Can you imagine lives where you can't communicate with those you love?

If you have someone you'd like to nominate we want to hear from you. Go here to nominate someone.

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