Our beneficiaries. The people who make it all worth it.
Wheels in Motion is proud to support seven beneficiaries across three states. And we're just getting started.
Wheels in Motion works closely with Spinal Cord Injuries Australia (SCIA) and NeuroMoves to find suitable candidates for support. Our first beneficiary was a young boy who became a paraplegic following an accident in 2010. Having made great gains at NeuroMoves, he was forced to stop therapy due to a change in financial circumstances. Our second beneficiary was a young man who became a quadriplegic after a swimming accident. He received no compensation or other financial support as a result. In both cases, funds raised by Wheels in Motion allowed each person to regularly attend NeuroMoves for therapy and continue to improve their physical and mental wellbeing.
Since then, we’ve continued to fund young Australians in financial need to help them access rehabilitation and equipment that they otherwise could not afford. We look forward to supporting even more young Australians living with spinal cord injuries in the years to come.
These are the stories of just two of the seven beneficiaries we currently support. Find further details below, or read about activity-based therapy here.
Below are two reports from NeuroMoves that detail the
impressive progress made by two of our beneficiaries. We update this page regularly.
Date of injury: 2014
Age: 29 years old
Client #1 suffers from a T12 spinal cord and brain injury sustained in 2014 as a result of jumping from her uncle’s third storey balcony to flee a fire inside the unit complex. Following this, Client #1 was left wheelchair bound and suffering from minor cognitive impairments. Client #1 has been forced to live with her aunt and uncle in the Western Sydney suburb of Bankstown, because her mother’s house is not wheelchair accessible. Being from an impoverished migrant background of low socioeconomic status, her family cannot afford the modifications for her mother’s house.
Date of Injury: 2016
Age: 21 years old
Client #2 suffered a traumatic spinal cord injury in August 2016 in an off-road motorbike accident. Client #2 currently lives at home with their parents and is no longer working, driving or participating in any of their previous sporting or social activities. Client #2 was struggling with motivation to reintegrate back into the community, as well as back into work, social and sporting activities.
Client #1 has so far competed six weeks of four x 2-hour sessions per week. At the time of writing, they have three weeks of sessions remaining. Client #1 has been undertaking Activity Based Therapy (ABT), which involves intensive, repetitive exercises involving whole-body activities undertaken with the guidance of exercise physiologists and/or physiotherapists.
ABT activates the nervous system and builds muscle to help with movement. Muscles that are paralysed or weak below the level of injury, or that are affected by a disability, are stimulated by these exercises. The aim of ABT is to improve strength, general mobility, balance, stamina and independence.
Client #1 and their therapists have been focussing on walking gait and core and pelvic stability. As a result, Client #1 has made impressive improvements and is now able to walk a short distance with a four-wheeled walker.
When Client #1 undertook the six minute walk test at the beginning of the funding period, they were able to walk 97 metres with a four-wheeled walker. This has now increased to 161 metres – smashing their original goal of 115 metres. Client #1 has now increased their goal to 300 metres by the end of the funding period.
Client #1's walking speed has also increased. In their latest 10 metre speed walk test, Client #1 walked 10 metres in 18 seconds with a four-wheeled walker, as improved from 26.5 seconds at the beginning of the funding period. Client #1 has set a new goal to walk 10 metres in under 10 seconds by the end of the funding period. Client #1 is now also able to negotiate the stairs with a rail and one Canadian crutch.
Psychological and social improvements
A Community Integration Questionnaire (CIQ) is used to measure community integration after traumatic injury. The CIQ consists of 15 items related to living, loving and working. The basis for scoring is primarily a measurement of the frequency of performing activities or roles, with secondary weight given to whether or not activities are done jointly with others, and the nature of these other persons.
Client #1's latest CIQ showed an improvement of +15%. With their improved gait, Client #1 has benefited from increased confidence, as they are no longer as self-conscious about their looks. Client #1 now leaves the house on a more regular basis because they can walk a short distance and feel more stable and in control of their movements. Previously, Client #1 was terrified of falling over in public. Client #1's confidence, along with their physical capabilities, has changed to such an extent that they are now looking to move in by themselves next week. This is a massive step forward for all. Client #1 now feels able to look after themself, and is no longer reliant on the support of their aunt and uncle.
Being now able to tackle stairs, Client #1 can visit their mother at home for the very first time since their accident three years ago. This is a hugely emotional experience and a significant milestone for Client #1 and their mother, who has been overwhelmed by the recovery that Client #1 has and continues to make. Client #1's mother cannot wait to have Client #1 visit at home again.
Client #2 has been attending the NeuroMoves Perth program since 5 June 2017, for one session per week (comprising one hour of Activity Based Therapy (ABT) and one hour of Strength and Conditioning (S&C)).
The ABT program focuses on a client’s functional goals and outcomes. This exercise physiology program is a physically challenging program involving a range of task specific activities aimed at skill acquisition and the improvement of independence. These sessions are delivered one-on-one with an Accredited Exercise Physiologist.
The S&T program focuses more on Client #2's muscular strength and endurance, cardiovascular fitness as well as maintaining a healthy weight. It focuses less on functional outcomes and more on strength and fitness measures. It compliments all other programs as a strong base is vital to performing other functional movements, and to avoid injury.
Client #2 began attending twice weekly sessions under the generous funding provided by Wheels in Motion on 1 August 2017. Client #2 was previously unable to attend more than one session per week due to program costs, and travel distance and expenses. This additional funding made it possible for Client #2 to attend NeuroMoves twice a week, by alleviating some of the financial burden from his family, and making the one hour of travel time worth the effort. This increase will make a significant impact on the improvements that Client #2 will be able to make. One session per week was proving insufficient to effect any meaningful change.
Client #2 continues to undertakes two-hour sessions made up of one hour ABT and one hour S&C. We have changed Client #2's S & C program to include a “buddy”, which involves 2-3 clients working alongside each other. This creates a more social, motivating and sometimes competitive environment to push the clients to perform at their best.
Client #2's upper body strength and trunk balance have improved enough to allow them to complete floor to wheelchair transfers. This is essential for anyone in a wheelchair because of the ever present risk of falling from the chair. They are now able to complete a full transfer from floor to wheelchair without assistance.
Client #2's general ability to move themself around the large plinth has also improved, as this requires sufficient upper limb strength and trunk balance to prevent falling forwards or backwards when trying to pull or push themselves around the plinth. Client #2's strength will translate well into all transfers, as well as general trunk balance when leaning away from their centre of gravity.
The difficulty of the sitting balance exercises that we are able to give Client #2 has also drastically improved. Client #2 has moved from performing very simple arm raises in the beginning of the program, to now completing difficult sets of weighted ball throws, battle ropes and rebounding exercises. This will help Client #2 in their endeavours to return to work, cooking, performing household chores etc. Anything that involves leaning away from their chair or handling any objects of weight will become easier.
Client #2 has also expressed an interest in learning to drive again, which is another amazing improvement because Client #2 had no interest in driving, working or studying again during their initial assessment with NeuroMoves. Indeed, Client #2's overall morale was very low during this initial assessment.
Client #2's mother has also commented to us about how much Client #2 enjoys attending NeuroMoves, and that Client #2 is now actually enjoying training, having sore muscles, seeing improvements, attending NeuroMoves social events and making friends with both clients and staff.
Psychological and social improvements
When Client #2 first began attending the program in June, they appeared shy and uncertain of both themself and their abilities. Client #2 lacked confidence when performing all exercises and seemed quite out of touch with their body and what it could do. Client #2 was very cautious in their approach to training, and to communicating with staff and clients.
Since attending sessions twice per week, all staff have noted a significant change in Client #2's social interaction and mood when attending sessions. Client #2 displays a more open and eager personality when interacting with staff and clients, and has even become involved in social events that NeuroMoves Perth holds regularly.
Client #2 is now more confident in their body and abilities, and has begun to push themself during sessions. Having a training buddy during S & C programs has also fuelled Client #2's motivation and determination. Client #2 now finishes sessions completely exhausted, having pushed themself to match their partner. This is a great improvement – as when Client #2 began the program, they were so cautious that they would barely break a sweat, or become out of breath.