. . . And In Health

Gearing Up

By July of 1998, ATP was reaping the fruits of its new home, conveniently located in front of a large sporting facility with an ice rink, swimming pools, spring training equipment and a seminar room. The company had also started providing outpatient rehab and education, as well as consulting services in addition to the professional rehabilitation staffing and management services it already provided for central North Carolina health-care organizations. "That's really what saved us," Ted says. "And I was able to keep a lot of my [prior] contracts just because of my reputation and the people I knew. But the volume wasn't there like it was in 1995 through 1997."

Although the addition of new physical, occupational and speech therapists (paid on a per diem basis to start) helped drum up business, clients that dragged out their payments-sometimes for months-put a damper on growth. That was Ted's clue that monthly billing wasn't cutting it. He quickly switched to weekly.

Hiccups aside, ATP was poised for the expansion Ted sought. But then he and Jacquelyn, ATP's corporate secretary of administration, were dealt another blow just two years after Spencer's diagnosis: Their then-five-month-old son Jack Grier was diagnosed with osteopetrosis, a rare bone disease that, according to Ted, affects only 200 people in the world. "He ended up having to have a bone-marrow transplant, so my wife was with him in the hospital for three months," recalls Ted. "And a bone-marrow transplant's not cheap. It's about a million dollars." But because the Langdons were valued members of the community and their church, friends and strangers pulled together to raise money. They helped the family organize a bone-marrow drive through the local Red Cross, held dances, benefit auctions, barbecues, yard sales-even a lemonade stand that raised $900, courtesy of the children in the community. It only solidified the feeling that anything was possible with teamwork and support.

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This article was originally published in the April 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: . . . And In Health.

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