Story about MacWheelers Gym, last affordable place for gait supported walking exercises in Southern Ontario for many Spinal Cord Injured people or MS impaired victims is shutting down its door of opportunity with up to 10 times higher fee’s than in previous years. MacWheelers Gym became overnight non-affordable / non-accessible place.
I am member of MacWheelers Gym @ McMaster University in Hamilton Ontario for more than 5 years. My previous post about “MacWheelers Dream Gym” jinxed the whole sugar-coated story about this gzm. With new fees, instead of payment of $ 75.00 for previous monthly membership, now, for exactly the same thing -2 walks per week (x 40 min) on gait supported treadmill I should cash $ 600 per month!!!
With a help of MacWheelers staff, I have carefully tailored my exercise program and after last couple of years of hard work and continuous exercises that includes 2 walk per week on treadmill,
I have finally start to show improvements with my health and mobility. As a matter a fact, last 12 months I was witness of huge success for me after previous 12 years since my injury, 12 long years with almost no any change.
For example, I have dropped down weight support on treadmill from 75 kgs to 10 kgs in last 12 months and also I have improved my stability, core, my transfers, etc. Sensitivity, bladder and bowel control are also two-fold increased in this period. (Btw – My spinal cord injury is C6 Incomplete Asia B/C)
I am pretty sure I was able to achieve all of this only by increasing frequency and intensity of my walking sessions from once to twice weekly and by increasing number of minutes per session from 25 to 40 in the last year.
My idea is to increase level of my workout to 3 walks per week to see if this improvement trend will continue, start slow independent slow walk (I can move my lags from my hips) and eventually start to exercise with ZeroG.
After new fee’s were proposed, I have contacted Pace program Management with
question what to do to preserve my exercise level.
Their answer was basically – to pay.
Oh, btw, they congratulate me on my success!!
They are directing me to find sponsor or try to cover through insurance.
In other words, I should be wheeling around begging for sponsorship.
* * *
And finally, the whole story about this unique and inspirational place that is settled in thick Hamilton’s fog and painted with colors from spectrum of mismanagement, University bail-outs, schizophrenic nature of little-bit-gym-little-bit-research-program, hundreds of thousands of dollars of grants to joint accounts, fund-raising efforts from the last century (yes, bring empty beer bottles…), scares from insurance companies “what if something happen and somebody sue you”, is not really getting any more clear with new “commercial” vision at all.
To preserve classical capitalistic supply & demand scheme even here, management will rather see this advanced equipment collect dust than allow members to use it for regular membership fee – as it was the case for last 15 years.
People who are progressing very slowly due to nature of their injury or health state will be stranded with no access to walking gait supported machines that can help them.
Parody of this situation is when staff members come to position to explain to young students about special equipment on the floor, they would need to jump on Zero-G, Locomat or Gait trainers by themselves and people in wheelchair will be only able to watch.
WALK is possible
How others see standing and continuous walking exercise can help mobility impaired / spinal cord injured people.
In China’s center Kunming for decades they are practicing walking program that last at least 6 months, with 6 hours a day, 6 days a week and they have fantastic results when many people walking out of wheelchair and be independent.
Kunming walking video
In Germany they are using gait training combining with new technology – robotic legs at least 5 hours a day, 5 days a week also for at least 6 months to create some totally “unexpected” results – unexpected for this health care system that is actually promoting big dependability business.
Neurologic-Controlled Exoskeletal Neuro-Rehibilitation by Thomas Schildhauer, MD