In the world of great stories, there are those that happen right in our own backyard. From her humble beginning as a girl growing up on a farm to a woman whose life’s work is considered an inspiration from her admiring family, patients, and colleagues. So it was with Dr. Sheila K. Laws, an outspoken Quincy, Illinois, chiropractor known for her ability to help her patients with a hands-on, drug-free approach to health care and inspire those to follow in her footsteps.
Sometimes the simple twists of fate in life can reveal the path we are destined to follow. When she was young Dr. Laws fell from her horse while riding and suffered an injury to her back. Her mother took her to see a female chiropractor, Dr. Katheryn Nicolay, who helped her recover from the injury.
Growing up in the area she attended Quincy Senior High School and spent several years at Quincy College. Dr. Laws married and then relocated with her husband for his job to the Quad Cities. As a stay at home mom with two kids, she still dreamed of one day pursuing a career.
“It was then I discovered there was a chiropractic college in Davenport a block from our apartment. I then had two more children but felt that I was meant to be a chiropractor. My husband took on a part-time job in addition to his working full time with Ozark Airlines so I could attend chiropractic college. I then discovered what I was meant to do with my life as a professional,” Laws said.
Even though she had four children at home to take care of, she was able to graduate valedictorian from Palmer Chiropractic College. She was just one of a handful of women in the college at the time. She found very little resistance from others in her life that prevented a block for her to pursue her professional goals. Most everyone was very supportive of her endeavors.
“My husband was one of my biggest supporters and through his efforts with our children and the household duties that I was able to accomplish my goals. If it wasn’t for this I would have never been able to graduate valedictorian from college,” Laws said.
After graduation, the Laws family moved back home to Quincy where she started her own practice. The business thrived and so did her family. She loves to help people achieve their health goals and make their lives better. She finds it exciting when her skills help people to live a healthier life.
Dr. Laws was always looking for ways to improve her skills that would benefit her patients. She attended a chiropractic seminar given by Dr. Raymond Nimmo, a man who would change her life and become her mentor.
“Dr. Nimmo was a great influence on my life and my work. His interest in finding the answers for things and why they worked fascinated me. He developed a technique called Receptor-Tonus that I learned to be proficient in and began teaching it all over the world to chiropractic students,” Laws said.
Dr. Laws retired from her practice after 45 years, leaving it in the hands of her eldest daughter. At 81 she is still teaching Nimmo Receptor-Tonus seminars at chiropractic colleges in Brazil, Spain, and across the United States.
Dr. Laws is very proud of the fact that two of her daughters, Dr. Diana Franklin and Dr. Suzanne Feldmann, her grandson, Dr. Brandon Bruening, and her first office assistant, Dr. Mary Ruebbelke were influenced by her to become chiropractors as well.
“Her example of being a great wife, wonderful mom, and a fantastic doctor made me want to pursue the chiropractic profession. She led by example, I knew I could do the same,” Franklin said.
“My mom had a great influence on my decision to become a chiropractor. I am sure I would never have even considered becoming a chiropractor if I had not grown up with my mother being a chiropractor. As a chiropractor, her attitude about life and health affected the way we were raised,” Feldmann said.
Dr. Laws feels there is so much more breadth and depth to the profession. It isn’t just a profession that helps people with backaches. Chiropractic is able to help all types of illness and is no longer considered quackery. The increased number of women in the profession is also a great sense of pride for her as a woman.
“I can’t think of anything else that I would have wanted to be. I believe that everything happens for the right reasons to take me to the place where I have always belonged,” Laws said.