A new gym that’s opened in St. Catharines is likely one of kind in Ontario, if not Canada. It’s a place where amputee’s can work out with the help of Brock University students studying in the health field. The facility is giving amputee’s a way to strengthen their bodies to enrich their lives.
53-year old Carol Mills is a cancer survivor. But 36-years ago, she had to have her lower left leg amputated. She says wearing and using this prosthetic requires exercise and muscle strengthening and she was determined to wear it and refused to sit in a wheelchair: “People don’t talk to you when you’re in a wheelchair. They talk to the person you’re with. When you’re eye to eye with a person they basically talk to you.”
Carol says this new amputee exercise program at the Brock Niagara Centre for health and well being will help amputee’s continue exercise after their rehabilitation is over.
Scott Stevens is a coordinator: “For those who have lost a limb, they’re gonna expand more energy when they’re walking, they need to be strong cardiovascular wise, they need to work muscles to do simple things like transferring from a chair to a commode or from a chair to a bed or a bathtub.”
Or from a chair to exercise equipment. These Brock University students volunteer their time, like kinesiology student Kim Caporicci: “There’s a 50% chance that once you lose your first limb you’re gonna lose the 2nd limb in 3 years. Within 5 years there’s a chance you can pass away so hearing that makes me realize there’s a way to impact peoples lives and help them change their lives for the better.”
The membership here cost $400 a year, but members can ask for assistance to cover some of the expenses through the Niagara Amputee Association.
Alan Rigby from the Niagara Prosthetics & Orthodics Corportation hopes his patients who don’t like regular gyms will come here: “There are some that would not feel comfortable in a community based environment but they will here.”
Carol said: “You can come in a wheelchair or anything, no matter what capabilities you’ve got.”
The new gym specifically designed to help amputees is located on lockhart drive in St. Catharines. It’s mostly servicing the Niagara Region, but they say they wouldn’t turn away people from out of town. The hope is that more gyms like this one will open in communities across the country to make it more comfortable for people with disabilities to make their lives better.