Sunday, November 1, 2009

Walking into Walk On

My name is Rachel and I’m a 3rd year PR student. I joined Spinal Cord Injuries Australia in July 2009 as an intern assisting with public relations activities for Walk On. Being a Brissie girl, I got to spend a couple of months working out of the Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association Gym in Bowen Hills, which is where the Brisbane Walk On pilot program has been operating.

I came to
Walk On with little knowledge of SCIA, Walk On or spinal cord injuries, but what I have learnt in the four months I have spent with the organisation has been enough to change my outlook forever.

There are the obvious things I have learnt; complete vs incomplete injuries, injury classifications, the hospital process and types of accidents that cause spinal cord injuries; however, the most amazing thing I have learnt is that this exercise recovery program is making the most incredible difference to the lives of participants.

Working so close to the gym, I have met, watched and assisted clients in their training and heard a lot of the stories of the accidents that brought them to
Walk On, but the best bit is hearing where they are going with their new abilities.

Joe Salu, the cheeky and lovable larrikin, has been able to return to work since completing his training to be a tower crane operator; Rhys Tappenden has become a dad for the first time, feeling confident in his ability to be a father to his beautiful little girl; and Nathan Handley, the daredevil-dude, has actually got back on his motorcycle, much to the horror of his poor mum.

What I’ve taken from all these incredible people and
Walk On, is that it doesn’t matter what challenges people face, what others say, or what ‘the chances are’; because where there’s a will, there’s definitely a way.

Thanks for listening,


Rachel Caton
Public Relations Intern
Spinal Cord Injuries Australia

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