Star intern Rachel steals five minutes with one of the dedicated Walk On recovery specialists, Kate Greener, to find out why she thinks Walk On is the bee’s knees.
RC: So Kate, how did you become involved in Walk On?
KG: Luckily for me, Walk On found me. I was working as a gym supervisor at the Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association. I always wanted to be involved in spinal rehabilitation and was frustrated that there was very little available outside of the hospital system. Then in rolled David Prast, who was looking for a venue to bring Walk On to Australia, and the rest is history. I volunteered for Walk On for just over a year and was the third trainer to be sent to Project Walk. I have now been a part of the Walk On team officially for just over a year.
RC: What are some of the big and small achievements you have seen since the pilot began?
KG: The biggest achievement I have seen has been the increase in clients’ independence. When some of the guys started the program, they were driven to the gym, pushed up the ramp by their partners and hoisted on and off equipment. Basically, they were dependent on other people to do a lot of the things we do in our day-to-day lives. Many of them were frustrated, self-conscious, angry and in some cases desperate for something, anything more. It’s then amazing that 6-12 months down the track, some of these clients are driving, transferring, travelling, working and are independent individuals.
RC: Do you feel these achievements have improved clients’ quality of life?
KG: Definitely. With increased strength and fitness comes less health problems such as skin tears, blood pressure issues, urinary tract infections and depression to name a few. In general our clients are happier, healthier, more independent and driven to make the most of life which is very rewarding as a trainer. Nathan Handley walking over the finish line at the Bridge to Brisbane was a great moment this year, Joe taking his first steps on his crutches and Jayme being able to transfer into a car for the first time since his accident; have all been big moments for me this year.
RC: What is the US Project Walk like in comparison to Walk On?
KG: Project Walk is a truly unique experience. There are people there from all over the world, all under one roof, for the same reason. And it is so big - we would love to have that much space one day! They have many clients and trainers so I learnt lots. Everyone was willing to help you and made us feel welcome. Our facility is smaller but the atmosphere of our gym is something you cannot replicate. Unlike Project Walk, we have people from all disability groups training under one roof. There is a great camaraderie and sense of fun at the gym. Both places offer something different whilst executing a high level of training.
RC: So to wrap it all up, tell me why Walk On is so exciting?
KG: I love that this program gives people a choice to maximise their functional recovery and regain functional independence, confidence and an improved quality of life. This is the first program of its kind in Australia and I'm excited to be a part of it.