Family of quadriplegic teen opens spinal cord injury recovery centre
A recovery centre designed to give hope to people living with spinal cord injuries opened Tuesday in Nova Scotia.
The family of a teenager left quadriplegic after a car crash nearly three years ago opened the centre in their hometown of Windsor.
Amy Paradis lost the use of her arms and legs when she was 16 after a car crash on Boxing Day in 2009. Paralyzed from the chest down, she was told she would never walk again.
Now at age 18, she has hope.
“I'm working, I'm seeing what’s out there and talk to other people in the same position I am,” says Paradis.
Her family wants others to share the same hope, which is why they opened the privately-owned spinal cord recovery centre called Footprints.
“It’s something people have to get used to, because in our part of the world we've never had this, we've never had our exercise program for spinal cord injury,” says Paradis’ mother Marlene Belliveau.
It is something the family thought about for a while, and after visiting a recovery centre in the U.S. earlier this year, they were reassured they were on the right track. So, they moved Paradis’ equipment and opened up a centre for others to share.
Deon Wilson is a personal trainer who has been working with Paradis for the last year-and-a-half.
“Basically, when I started with Amy her paralysis was almost up to her armpits, she was, from there down, had not much function,” says Wilson.
Wilson says they’re now getting slight movements in the ankles.
It’s constant repetition of a particular type of exercise to facilitate strength, develop and improvement in body awareness and body movement and body function,” explains Wilson.
Belliveau says she isn’t promising miracles, just trying to provide hope.
“I can't guarantee you're going to walk again,” says Belliveau. “I'm not going to tell you you're not, I'm not going to tell you you are, but what I am going to say is we're keeping your body healthy.”
They know Paradis may never walk again. Her mom says they have had that conversation, but the teen has seen some positive change.
“Absolutely, absolutely, such a big difference,” she says.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Jacqueline Foster