I recently returned from working at a Center for Neurological Recovery in Chicago. (NextStepsChicago.org)
It was totally fate and my airheadiness that led me on the path of working with people who have experienced Spinal Cord injuries. I answered an ad looking for exercise trainers @ “Project Walk”, so I stroll in expecting to lead a Walking Club similar to one at any local YMCA. However, I found people who could not move either half or three-fourths of their body, exercising harder than any athlete I have seen. So, after being moved I began the internship and my 101 on what the heck a spinal cord injury entailed. Obviously, most people without a SCI injury or a family member with one doesn’t know diddly squat, so we were all in that boat together. Besides the inability to walk, there is limited or no function with bowel, bladder, and sexual organs, so basically a triple whammy.
I was blessed to meet Jon O’Connor in San Diego about 8 years ago, he recruited me to assist him in starting his post recovery facility in Chicago.
Now, after the passing of Christopher Reeves, this facility is collaborating with the Reeve Foundation to offer the best recovery possible.
The trainers support the clients in exercises that will provide strength, quality of life, recovery, mobility, and mental therapy. You know the feeling after you exercise, the endorphins are flowing you feel light and a high on life. Next Steps is providing this feeling for a specialized population. So when we “don’t” feel like working out or making steps to change our well being, think of others who may have a few more obstacles and keep on.
Cheers,
Heather