Last Saturday I had the distinct pleasure of participating for the second time in the Walk it Off Recovery 5 km Run, Walk and Roll event here in Newmarket, Ontario. Sincere thanks to everyone who sponsored me. The event was hosted by my newest client, Walk it Off Spinal Cord Recovery and Wellness Centre. My good friend and client Karen Armstrong of Inside Out and I Nordic pole-walked the 5kms together and raised funds to support the Centre. Although the weather wasn’t as warm and sunny as it could have been, the air was filled with the excitement and anticipation of over 300 participants eager to get moving.
I must admit that while I was excited to participate in the event last year, I wasn’t as ‘invested’ in the cause until I spent more time recently working on their soon-to-be-released new website and reading the stories of the Centre’s clients and that of owners Heather and Kevin Mills.
Kevin was just 28 when a fun filled day ended in tragedy. While celebrating a family wedding on the beach in Cuba in February 2009, he was driven head first into the sand by a wave. Kevin broke his neck, sustaining a Spinal Cord Injury (SCI), was diagnosed a C4 ASIA A, quadriplegic and had no feeling or movement below the shoulders. He was told he would have to steer his wheelchair with his head. Kevin and Heather were both Advanced Care Paramedics in Toronto at the time. Since then, they have worked tirelessly to bring new programs and state-of-the-art rehabilitation strategies to their clients at the Centre here in Newmarket. With much determination, many of their clients have made excellent strides in regaining mobility and their stories are so inspiring. Kevin is now able to push his own wheelchair with power assist wheels. He has completed two half marathons since his accident. It just goes to show you that Doctors don’t have all the answers and no one should ever underestimate the power of the human spirit.
Walk it Off Recovery is a Not-for-Profit Centre that provides exercise-based recovery, education and support to those living with spinal cord injuries (SCI). Their goal is to improve quality of life and increase independence by maximizing recovery. This year all proceeds of the 5km event will go towards procuring a LiteGate suspended walking apparatus over treadmill.
The highlight of the day for me was watching the Centre’s clients complete the race. Two of them were able to get up out of their wheelchairs and with assistance, walk across the finish line. I was overcome with emotion as I watched their families cheering them on as they reached that milestone. What an amazing achievement. I am more determined than ever to help them any way I can. One day I hope to see Kevin walk across that finish line too.
As with any not-for-profits, donations are needed to keep the Centre thriving. Donations are gratefully accepted here. If you can, please consider donating as you never know when a day might come that you or your family might need the assistance of a Centre such as this.
The new website and social media links will be launching very soon. Stay tuned! In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact Heather at 289-340-0072 or via email here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Until next time,
Tags: Heather Mills, Not-for-Profit Centres York Region, SCI Centre York Region, Spinal Cord Recovery Centre Newmarket, Spinal Cord Recovery Centre York Region, Walk and Roll, Walk it Off 5km Race, Walk it Off Spinal Cord Recovery Centre