In June 2008 I was paralysed from the neck down due to a disease called Acute Disseminating Encephalomyelitis. I felt unwell, went to A&E and collapsed, losing all movement and sensation. I stayed in the Neurological hospital at Queens Square for 6 months. ADEM is an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own brain tissue; I was told that survivors of the disease stand a good chance of full recovery (or minimal disability) at a rate of 90% , that’s if you survive the attack as the mortality rate is high. I couldn’t move my hands or arms, so I couldn’t do anything for myself. I had a flickering of sensation returning after around 10 days after the attack … I was back to work after 2 months, I considered myself very lucky to have a good prognosis so didn’t see the point in waiting at home things to start improving. I had a lot of muscle wastage from lying down in hospital for 6 months so wanted to get moving. It’s only a shame I didn’t know about Ability Bow sooner! I didn’t know about this place until a colleague at Homerton hospital mentioned it to me in 2014. In January 2015 I joined and I think it’s the most wonderful creation in the world!
When I first came I was struck by how kind and caring the trainers are; they have amazing skills with the clients. The other members are all so friendly too and often helping each other out. I converted to a ‘drop in’ in 12 weeks, (which means I go through my gym programme independently rather than having the close one-to-one training) I’m building strength and all my muscles are now firing again! I come two times a week and am aiming for 3. I told my trainer Patrick, when I joined that my ultimate goal was to stand unaided. He set me a programme using the Thera Bike, Power Plate, doing walking and sit- to-stand as well as the leg press. These days I do a more varied work out; as my strength has increased I’m able to do more. Patrick changes up the programme to keep it challenging.
When I joined I could walk 10 metres (with a frame) in 44 seconds now I can do the same in 27 seconds. My physiotherapist was very pleased and tells me to keep doing whatever I’m doing at Ability Bow as its working!Because of this have seen my confidence go through the roof! My sickness level is practically zero, I move more at home and can get upstairs.
My husband and I are going away soon on holiday and he can take me by himself, this is quite an achievement as it used to take my whole family to help me whilst on such a trip. But we are both confident now that he can manage by himself. Gyms like Ability Bow should be mainstream and replicated everywhere! They are too rare. I’ve never looked back since joining Ability Bow.