Hemet man finds his own way when medical insurance fails him

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Gary Oakley attends a community event at Soboba Springs Golf Course Nov. 18. Valley News/Courtesy photo
When Gary Oakley entered the world as a three-pound preemie in 1950, he said there wasn’t much known about how to keep early arrivals alive and functioning. “The best technologies available were an incubator and prayer,” he said. “I was never able to get many details from my parents about the early years; they didn’t want to talk about it.” Oakley, who has lived in Hemet with his wife Cheryl since 2014, said he didn’t start walking until he was about three when his parents were connected to the Shriners’ Hospital in St. Louis. This is where his cerebral palsy was diagnosed and he eventually had two corrective surgeries at that hospital. The first, at age 3, was to lengthen his heel cords so he wouldn’t walk on his tiptoes and the second, when he was seven, was to keep
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