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Posts Tagged ‘walking’

Happy Monday! Happy that warm weather and sunshine have arrived (finally) in New Jersey!

I am not a basketball fan, but do follow sports news enough to know that March Madness is a sub-culture all its own. I even know who the Final Four teams were and who’s playing for the championship tonight. But that, I admit, is about all I do know. And I am curious – did it used to be that March Madness actually ended in March, ’cause last I checked it’s clearly April today…..

However, at Push to Walk, we had our own version of March Madness going on all month as well. I had the best intentions to write more this past month, but was distracted by some big projects (all good!) and procrastinated, much to my dismay (and that of my Communications Coordinator as well). But I am back!

This picture tells of our amazing client accomplishments and competition with each other to be “on the board.”  Some of these clients don’t even know each other, others do, and the competition has become FIERCE! I hope this gives you a sense of how hard our clients are working, what their goals are, and what they are accomplishing.

Compared to this………basketball is easy!! Let me hear some cheers from the crowd!

Push to Walk Blackboard

Push to Walk Blackboard

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I am an able-bodied person that spends a lot of waking hours around people in wheelchairs. At Push to Walk, most of our clients use wheelchairs for mobility, and while they may not be in their wheelchairs for the duration of their workouts, they come and go and converse with me while in their chairs. As much time as I spend around people in chairs, I do not have a clue what it takes to go through a day, every day, every week, every month, in a chair. While I have been prodded to spend a day in a wheelchair, and I have resisted (more about that in another blog post, I promise), I still don’t think that would help me understand the situation, although it would provide some insight.

In any case, here’s a good example of what those of us who walk around without a thought about the fact that we ARE walking, don’t think about.  And I’m sure there are a thousand other things as well. By the way, this is the father of a Push to Walk client.

Along this line of thought, there is a group called SCI Sucks that spells out what the public doesn’t realize about spinal cord injuries, and the messages often perpetuated by the disabled community itself. Their tagline says it all: “People tell us to change the name, but then we wouldn’t be telling the truth.”

Take a few minutes to think about ways you could improve just little things that could make a world of difference to someone who uses a wheelchair. It might just make someone smile, and make their day just a little easier.

Cynthia

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So you know the slogan “What happens in Vegas……….stays in Vegas,” right? Sometimes I feel like this happens at Push to Walk. What happens here…………stays here. Of course, it’s up to each individual client on what information can be distributed for public viewing, and we respect each person’s wishes. But when something SO wonderful happens, I want to shout from the rooftops! I just can’t help myself.

Check out this video that shows a client who has come to Push to Walk for several years: http://youtu.be/VvjOu9XORNo

She has a C5 injury, sustained in June 2006. I believe this accomplishment is due to her consistent workouts at Push to Walk, the dedication of her trainers in paying attention to what’s going on in her body, and the simple concept of TRYING. It’s not easy for the client or the trainers. Some people might say it’s not practical. But it’s walking! And it’s happening because she has gotten stronger, can support herself better and her muscles are firing. Our philosphy is to stimulate the nervous system and see what happens. Progress may be slow, even non-existent at times, but we all keep working at it.

How wonderful to watch! It’s these kinds of things that make me happy to come to work every day. Wouldn’t you be, too??

Have a great weekend! Cynthia

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Spending time recently with my old friends the treadmill and the TV, I saw a commercial about GE that really hit home. The workers were shown doing their respective jobs, each making pieces of a jet engine. When the engine is installed in a plane and that plane is tested or used on an actual flight, the employees are on the airstrip watching the plane take off. You can see the pride in the employees’ faces as they see the result of their hard work pay off and actually being used.

These same feelings can be seen in our trainers’ faces as they work with Push to Walk clients who have spinal cord injuries and paralysis. Each workout, little pieces of progress are made, and over time, they amount to some incredible results! Sometimes those results are a person being able to sit up by themselves, bend over and pick something up from the floor, or reach for an object and not fall out of their chair. All these accomplishments are important and worthwhile, no matter how small.  Watch this video to see just another example. While the efforts on the part of the trainers are huge, the client is upright, moving his legs and walking with help. You might even say “a considerable amount of help.” But he IS walking, and that is a wonderful accomplishment. The video is the first one on the left. Happy viewing, and thanks for watching!

http://www.pushtowalknj.org/clients/clientlist.htm

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I always find it amazing to read about technology – what already exists, what is newly developed and what is on the horizon – for people with various disabilities. Of course, I am more interested in products that help people with spinal cord injury and paralysis, but it is mind boggling to follow what some of the leading institutions and researchers are working on.

Several efforts are well underway in producing an “exoskeleton” that will enable people with paralysis to walk. I am anxious to learn more about both eLegs and Re-Walk, and hopefully see them in action with actual people. There is also a group from Duke University heading up the Walk Again Project, which sounds very exciting.

These kinds of technology really tie in well with what we do at Push to Walk, because our goal is to help people regain strength, function and independence. Having core strength is crucial to a person who wants to be upright, either in a standing frame, on their own, or with the use of an exoskeleton. If a person does not have the strength and endurance to be upright, even the best technology is not going to help him/her. We feel that we provide that important piece to the puzzle.

I am grateful to all the brilliant minds who have made this area a focus of their research and work. Thank you to those individuals, companies and universities who are dedicating themselves to this cause! Here are a few links so you can check them out yourselves:

Duke University – http://www.walkagainproject.org/

eLegs – www.eksobionics.com

ReWalk – http://rewalk.us/

If you search on the names, you will find information, photos and videos that are sure to amaze you! If you are someone who has tried any of these devices, please let me know what you think. If you are aware of other technologies (not only walking but assistive technology of any sort) that might be helpful to learn about and pass along, please let me know! At Push to Walk, we are always interested in learning more about new and helpful information!

Thanks! Cynthia

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It’s been two long weeks of running inside, and even though I’m battling a terrible head cold and sinus infection, it felt good to be running in fresh air! In fact, I think it was the only 2 1/2 hours in a very long time that I wasn’t coughing my head off! Even now, I am alternately blowing my nose, sneezing, and hacking away. UGH! I hope the medicine I got on Thursday starts kicking in SOON.

I planned my run today so that my 9 mile marker was right at Push to Walk (well it was luck, really, when I mapped it out, it just happened that way!) so I got a bathroom break, and got to say hello to a few clients, too! Only a brief break and said hello to Richard and Steven and I was on my way again. If I stood around and socialized, I would never have wanted to go those last 3 miles! But it was great to see clients and get re-motivated to continue my run. ‘Cause that’s what it’s all about – running for our Push to Walk clients.

Today I was thinking about Lesley. I know Lesley is very private, and I respect that, so I won’t share many of her details here. But she is a devoted mother to her young adult children, who are now clearly devoted to helping her. I can only imagine how their lives were turned upside down with her injury, but it is wonderful to see them bring her to Push to Walk, and see how much they help her. With a husband who travels around the world for business, it seems like a lot of responsibility for them, but both her son and daughter seem to do whatever they need to. They are wonderful, caring young people, and I am glad to have the opportunity to know them. 

I love to talk with Lesley about her parents, and her struggles with them as they are aging and living on the opposite side of the U.S. She feels helpless and wishes they lived closer together. I can relate to the issues she is dealing with, but feel fortunate that I lived close to my parents when they were alive. I love to hear about the beauty of the northwest that Lesley describes, and why her parents love living there.

With all of the challenges that Lesley faces day to day, she usually has a smile and always something nice to say. I love to sit and talk with her while she is riding the FES bike, and wish I could it every time she comes to the gym! I try not to interrupt her workouts to chat, as I know she is concentrating very hard on whatever exercise she is doing at the time.

I’ll never forget part of her workout a few months back. She was up walking, just with the assistance of a trainer and an aide. I was so surprised! She was trying to smile while concentrating, and I couldn’t stop smiling. I was SO excited for her! I had to stay and watch, even though I had my coat on and was ready to leave for the day. It was a great accomplishment, and I was so happy to have seen it. Not every workout includes her walking in this way, but some do, and it is wonderful to see each and every time.

So today’s run was for you, Lesley, and your wonderful, caring family. Hang in there, and keep smiling that beautiful smile of yours. I’ll see you soon!

Cynthia

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