Spinal cord injury at times has made me feel alone, depressed and helpless, it robbed me not only of the ability to walk but also the use of many basic functions, taking my dignity and pride. It is a daily struggle to complete even the smallest of tasks and puts a lot of pressure on family and friends, especially of the care giver. Previous to my accident I prided myself on being a good provider I was a strong and capable fitter and turner and welder. I relied on my physical strength not only for my work but also in my recreational activities.
I have always been very active I am not the sort of person to sit around feeling sorry for myself for long. I decided I did not want to except life in a chair and so my recovery and new life began. In March 2009 Danielle and I finally got married and were lucky enough this year after IVF to have a baby. I decided to get out there and give things a go, I tried reflexology, acupuncture, electric stimulation and swimming, as well as a variety of homemade rehabilitation equipment. At the start of 2010 I travelled to Germany to undergo stem cell treatment at the xcell centre in Cologne. Thousands of dollars later I gained some feeling down the sides of my legs and some reflexes, but little else. I needed to do something pro active to try and engage my brain and legs.
We spent a lot of time researching spinal cord injury and stumbled across Project walk in USA and its Australian Partner Walk On in Brisbane. I joined the waiting list in August 2009 and eagerly awaited my turn. When Walk On opened its Sydney facility I was excited to be among one of the first to be part of the home training program. So as a family we made the trip to Sydney from Melbourne.Walk On for me can be described in one word “POSATIVE” . When you have a Spinal Cord injury you hear a lot of no’s from the doctors and physios... “No you can’t” “no you won’t” even “no there is no point” At walk On you never hear the word “no”, the trainers made me feel that anything is possible and encouraged me to trust my body again. They listened and they understood my injury using what function I had to its full potential. I left Sydney feeling both mentally and physically rejuvenated.
I have since been following the program at home with Danielle and feel that I have gained more strength, coordination, core stability and mentally I feel more positive about my future. We are now hoping to help raise the funds needed to bring Walk On to Melbourne so that we can be part of an in house program and continue my rehabilitation closer to home. I believe this program can benefit all SCI patients in some way, both mentally and physically. I know it is a long road but my hope is not only to walk again but to encourage others to be pro active with their rehabilitation. Thank you for your time.