Standing Tall Against All Odds.

At 5,985 meters high, Mount Kilimanjaro is the world’s highest free-standing mountain above sea level. For many able-bodied people, climbing Kilimanjaro can seem unimaginable. Spencer West conquered this feat while walking on his hands.
images-1“Standing Tall” by Spencer West is the life story of motivational speaker Spencer West. West was born with sacral agencies, a rare genetic disorder that left his lower spine poorly developed. When he was a child he had his legs amputated to allow a more functional life. Although his childhood was far from easy, he always had the determination and spirit to take him to great heights.

The book talks about many challenges he faced as a child, including the bullies who called him names and targeted him due to his physical disability. His story also explains many friends that have helped encourage him to be great.

Most would believe that being confined to a chair can limit ones ability to achieve goals and experiences compared to those who have legs, however, West has found a way to make his circumstances work to his advantage. Working with the foundation “Free The Children“, founded by brothers Craig and Marc Kielburger, West has had the opportunity to travel the world making a difference and proving to himself and others that no limits, whether physical or otherwise, can hold us back in achieving our dreams. With the Free The Children foundation, which empowers children around the world to have the right to education, housing, food and to be loved, he is also involved in “We Day” events across North America. This day involves talks by many social-political leaders such as the Dali Lama, music stars like Jason Mraz and up to tens of thousands of compassionate students soaking up the knowledge and inspiration from these powerful speakers.

images-2Spencer West and his book Standing Tall is inspirational and courageous. He is known to be a bright soul who inspires others wherever he goes. I highly recommend this book and encourage others to be involved with the Free The Children foundation.

Every purchase of the Standing Tall book along with any other Me to We book gives a notebook to a child in a developing country. To learn more please see

Michelle Wolfe

The Sweet Science of Beating the Crap Out of Things

I’m sure the general consensus is that physical rehabilitation is good for boxers. Why you ask? Well, it may have something to do with repeated punches to the head.

Yes I know that’s obvious, so what I pose is this, instead of using rehab to help boxers, let’s use boxing to help with rehab.

Let me clarify. I’m not saying that those in need of physical rehabilitation should step in the ring. It’s not the actual combative aspect of boxing to which I’m referring (hey, I like my nose the way it is thank you very much), it’s the fundamental training behind boxing that I’m talking about.

Boxing is a lot more than most people give it credit for. Behind the adrenalin soaked rounds, swings and knockouts, is a masterful training regime aimed at developing precise timing, rhythm and endurance. Boxing develops physical strength, breath control, and teaches you to stay focused under stress. These all just happen to be the stimulants needed for neuro-plasticity to kick in.

These days, you hear the word neuro-plasticity used a lot. At Aim2Walk, neuro-plasticity isn’t just a word, it’s a natural process that we clinically take full advantage of. To spark the recuperative powers of neuro-placticity through boxing fundamentals, we apply 3 important principles. These are:

1) Repetitive movement patterns
2) Precision and awareness
3) Focus under stress

Now this all said, you can’t just put on the gloves, beat the crap out of a bag, and think that you’re going to do yourself any good. It’s a specific system of learning, and that system needs to be done right. To help us implement boxing fundamentals into our rehabilitation programs, we brought in Jason Van Veldhuysen, an former amateur boxer, to show us the ropes (Jason actually did a great vid on implementing boxing at the clinic that’s posted at the bottom of the page). Jason was a great help and thanks to him boxing fundamentals have fully integrated their way into our program. Again, the emphasis isn’t on fighting. We focus on timing, spacial awareness, rhythm, breath control, mental focus and physical endurance.

The main training activities we’ve incorporated are pad work, heavy bag conditioning and speed bag drills. Here’s a little more info on each:

Padwork: Amazing for developing co-ordination and spacial awareness. Think of these as focus pads. The patterns are varied, changeable, and you need to stay on point. Also, the pads hit back! That’s right, when we work clients with the pads, the drills often include counter strikes that clients will block, duck and slip. All great ways to train the core and reaction time.

Speedbag: The speed bag trains your rhythm and timing. It’s also very difficult to control, so clients need to take extra care regulating their speed and strength. It’s great for developing smooth, fluid movement. Once you get the hang of it, it’s almost like meditating.

Heavybag: Then there’s the heavy bag, or as we like to call it, the big stress bag. Good to unload on (hey, we all need it sometimes). Builds strength and endurance. Apparently it’s also good for hugging.

As you can see, boxing really is a sweet science. Hopefully more eyes will be open now to it’s benefits, well, now that we’re thinking bigger than the whole getting punched in the head thing. Drop us a line if you’ve experienced the rehabilitative power of boxing. We’d love to hear your story.

– Jesse

(Jason and I talking about integrating boxing into neuro-rehab)

I Need A Glass Of Water!

For the majority of us, drinking a glass of water is as easy as breathing. You grab a glass, turn on a tap, fill it with water, tip the glass to your mouth and drink. What if you didn’t have the use of your arms? How would you grab the cup, fill the cup and then lift that cup to your mouth? These are simple things for many, however, they are impossible tasks for some. Many quadriplegics will deal with this problem everyday. Not having the use of your own hands and arms means being dependent on others, until now…

Jaco is a robotic arm device, created by Kenova, that specifically helps those unable to use their own arms and hands. Moving smoothly around 6 degrees of freedom, with unlimited rotation on each axis, it allows the user to have close to normal range of motion. If the client can use a chair, they can manage Jaco. This means, the arm can be controlled by hand controls as well as mouth or head controls. The light weight arm is only 5.7 kg and it can lift as much as 1.5kg when the arm is mid-length. When reaching to it’s maximum distance at 90cm, it can lift up to 1kg. The robot is designed to allow the user to pick up general every day items, such as, a glass of water or a chip bag.

The fingers, aka the gripper, consists of three gripping fingers with three unique joints on each. The fingers can adjust to any object and shape which allows it to gently pick up an egg or firmly grasp a jar.


This is so much fun!


The chip monster is happy!

The chip monster is happy!

Recently the Aim2Walk team was fortunate enough to trial Jaco. The use of the arm was surprisingly much easier then we thought and like usual, we had some good laughs playing around. The $35,000 device could be very beneficial to a number of our clients however the price may discourage the majority of those in need. With only four being used in Canada right now, we hope to see more in the near future. For more information click here.


Who wants a glass of water?

Who wants a glass of water?

Chug! Chug! CHug!

Chug! Chug! CHug!

Drinking a glass of water never seemed so fun.