I am a very happy lady at the moment. Not that I’m usually a miserable one but at this particular moment I am elevated to another level. The reason for this is that I love it when a plan comes together, when something that starts off as a good idea actually becomes reality. People have worked hard and joined with me to make things happen, people are sharing my excitement and it’s a great feeling.
Now what is she banging on about I hear you cry, well I shall tell you!
Last year I visited Stanmore Hospital in Middlesex and saw a Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) bike in action. The patients who were using it all had multiple scleroses and after chatting to them they told me that regular use of the bike has improved their condition and their general wellbeing so much. They travel miles so that they can access the bike, they are very few and far between. It isn’t just MS patients who benefit from this, it helps a whole variety of health problems and disabilities and so many people are missing out because it is either too far away or too expensive to use. I wanted one! Our community needs one!
My MD and brilliant team back at Stevenage Leisure agreed and so began the quest to fundraise for the FES bike. However, a few months later I saw an anti-gravity treadmill at a fitness convention and saw how it too can help so many people to stand, walk and exercise with support and pain free! I now wanted this; our community needs one of these too!!!
So, now we needed £38,600 for the bike and the treadmill…. Where could we possibly get this from, legally any way!
Obviously it had to be through fundraising but, how do you fundraising without getting on everyone’s nerves? (I probably did anyway!) What do you need to do to get people involved? First of all, the wonderful Lifestyle members volunteered (not sure if that’s exactly the right word) to take part in a six- hour Fitathon, six hours of sweat, tears ( of laughter I hasten to add) and fun to kick start things.
I then reckoned that fun, food and alcohol would be the carrot needed to get some more people involved. The Stevenage Golf Centre agreed to host a Charity Ball and Mario the chef provided a lovely three course dinner, singer, song writer Roxy Searle entertained over 70 guests with her beautiful voice and Magician Lee Smith blew everyone minds with his magic (still can’t work out how he does it…) Everyone drank sensibly and behaved very well, we are fitness professionals you know (tongue is now stuck in my cheek).
Aside to our fundraising efforts, organisations have been very generous and we really appreciate their donations. The Big Lottery, The Stevenage Community Trust, Henlow RAF, The Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce and members of the public who have donated raffle prizes and contributed to SLL’s Community Fund (https://sll.charitycheckout.co.uk/) We thank you all!
Last week a guy called Paul Moore brought in a FES bike to show us how it works. Paul is a Paralympian, he was tragically paralysed from the waist down after a motor bike accident. By attaching some electrodes to his behind, thighs and calf muscles we witnessed his muscles contracting in sequence and he was able to cycle, absolutely amazing!
So, this is why I’m so happy right now, we have raised…drum roll in your head please…. Just under £18,000! I am very happy to say that I ordered the FES bike last week and it should be here very soon. We still have £20k to go until, we can buy the treadmill but, in the meantime, Alter G have given us an anti-gravity treadmill for a trial period so that people can come and try or observe it and see how it will benefit them.
So, now we have bought the FES bike, we are on our way to getting the treadmill and we are in a position for you to come in and get started on them!
You really need to see this in action. We will be able to get so many people active. If you used to enjoy physical activity you will be able to enjoy it again, if you thought that you are now resigned to do nothing, think again!
If you or someone you know has multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, had a stroke, is paralysed, has a lower leg amputee, is in chronic pain due to osteo or rheumatoid arthritis, is recovering from musculoskeletal surgery or injury or other neurological conditions, come down to our Open Day at the Lifestyles gym at the Stevenage Arts and Leisure Centre on Thursday 22nd September, 9.00am – 8.00pm. We will either get you on the equipment on that day or you can observe them and ask any questions you may have.
If you are not able to make it on the 22nd, no worries, contact me and we’ll, arrange another time – Juanita.firstname.lastname@example.org
You’ll recognise me I’m the one with the big grin!