A couple of months ago, a client of Aim2Walk asked if I would accompany her to Los Angeles, for a business and pleasure trip. I have to be honest, inside my head, I was screaming with excitement! Not only was this a chance to visit a vibrant city filled with superstars and beautiful warm weather, it was also a chance to join Taylor during her therapy at Project Walk, one of the top neurological rehabilitation centers in the USA. This may not sound overly exciting to some people; however, for Taylor and I, this type of place was as incredible as a chocolate factory to a child (and most woman actually.) Of course, I was keen and honoured to have a chance to learn and bring back knowledge to Aim2Walk (which I consider the top neurological rehabilitation centre in Canada!)
When arriving at Project Walk for the first time, I felt at home. I can truly say that the atmosphere felt very similar to Aim2Walk. The clients were friendly and determined to accomplish their goals and the team of therapists were well educated and outgoing. Taylor had already had four weeks of therapy at Project Walk by the time I got there and the therapists were seeing great progress. It has been six years since Taylors’ accident which caused quadriplegia. Over the years, Taylor has developed an impression that she is unable to make any further progress in her mobility and strength. Here in Toronto, Taylor hasn’t met many girls with similar injuries. At Project walk, there were several people around Taylors age who were friendly, inspiring and who helped Taylor understand that she too could gain strength to become more independent. This alone, made my trip and I already look forward to pushing her more and helping her achieve her goals.
Lets take a look at both Aim2Walk and Project Walk (I couldn’t help compare!) I am very proud to be a part of the team at Aim2Walk because of our many modalities that we have to offer each client. Our clinic offers more technology such as our Lokomat (a robotic walking machine), cognitive therapy and much more. We also have a wide range of therapists who can perform different therapies, such as acupuncture, massage, cupping and more. We find this helpful if a client is unable to do their general muscle training or may need help in other aspects of their recovery, such as laser to bed sores and/or massage to relieve painful muscles. The one thing that really stood out to me as a positive at Project Walk was the positioning and set up of each exercise. Their technique to be able to assist clients in an exercise was very smart and safe for both client and therapist. The machines they used for training were basic yet used very wisely. They have a treadmill with a similar idea of our Lokomat, however when the client is “walking” the therapists must move the clients legs one leg at a time. We do this occasionally at our clinic, however, we mostly use the Lokomats robotic legs to move the legs for us. On the Lokomat a client will receive at least 30 minutes of straight walking, where at Project Walk, moving the legs manually means only walking for 12 minutes (due to the strain on the therapists body). I would love to see Project Walk invest in a Lokomat! All in all, I did learn a lot of new techniques and I’m looking forward to bringing some of these exercises to Aim2Walk. I thank the Project Walk team for answering my questions and involving me in on Taylor’s therapy sessions.
Outside of therapy, we did have a few fun adventures! Taylor and her mom were very kind to take me to several touristy hot spots while I was there. We saw a taping of the Chelsea Lately show (we even got to pose for a picture with Chewy). We went to the beach in Malibu, spent time shopping at rodeo drive and had some very lovely dinners at several places in LA. We were invited to a celebrity bowling fundraiser where we met singers Brian McKnight and Nick Lachey, actor Omar Benson Miller and several famous athletes. We went to DisneyLand where we found that every ride in the park was wheelchair accessible. Taylor, who hasn’t been on a ride in 6 years, was able to ride the ferris wheel, which was another highlight of the trip.
Thank you to Project Walk for sharing their powerful knowledge and thank you to Taylor and her mom for allowing me this opportunity for learning, adventures and laughs. I have returned to work feeling extra motivated, inspired and revived and look forward to helping Taylor and many others recover to their highest ability.