Power Cord members are improving their health and seeing results

Community members with spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis and amputations who have been participating in the Power Cord program at the Brock-Niagara Centre for Health and Well-Being are seeing physical, functional and psychological benefits.

Members credit a combination of their own commitment and dedication, the exercises customized to their individual needs, as well as the support of Brock’s staff and students for improving their overall health.

Many members are referred from the Hotel Dieu Shaver Health and Rehabilitation Centre as outpatients, says Scott Stevens, Manager for Brock-Niagara Centre for Health and Well-Being.

“We have a great partnership with the Shaver and they have been very supportive of us,” he said

Geanine Piacenti has multiple sclerosis. She was living in an assisted living facility prior to attending Power Cord. She had tried to exercise at a number of gym facilities in Niagara, but did not feel she was getting the guidance she needed to be successful and prevent injuries.

Piacenti and her husband maintained 55 acres of property and so she was always very active, walking and hiking.

“After my diagnosis, I tried a number of fitness clubs. Many of the gyms were busy and I would be left alone. A couple of times, I got stuck on the machines and no one was available to help,” she recalled.

When she learned there were Power Cord members with multiple sclerosis who were experiencing promising results, Piacenti asked to be discharged from the Shaver and referred to the Brock-Niagara Centre.

“Now I work with students one-on-one to practice my posture and the specialized equipment suits my needs. I live on my own now and feel more independent.”

Shawn Klink is another member of the Power Cord program. After a partial leg amputation a few months ago, he is now preparing his body for a prosthetic limb.

He’s had to wait for the surgical incision to heal and all of the swelling to go down before he can be fitted for a new leg.

“My physical condition has been improving, but last month, my doctor at the Shaver told me I wasn’t strong enough. I have been working out every day since. I’m really excited to report, I was re-evaluated and passed with flying colours,” he said.

“If it wasn’t for this program, I never would have been able to do this so quickly. I’ve always been really active and I’m a determined person. The accessible equipment here has allowed me to do the exercises I needed to do to.”

Klink expects to be fitted for his new leg in the New Year and will begin rehabilitation soon after. He is excited at the promise of getting back to a normal level of functioning.

Rick Mason has been with Power Cord since the Brock-Niagara Centre opened and is happy to report he has lost over 70 lbs. and is now gaining muscle mass.

Mason can see the results and feels stronger.

“I’m more confident than I was before. I used to worry when going down the street with my wife, if something happened, I wouldn’t be able to protect her. Now, I may be in a chair, but my arms are strong and I’m not afraid,” he said.

The Power Cord program is also an opportunity to exercise and socialize with people who have similar disabilities, said Mason.

“We are a big family here and our family is growing. Power Cord is unique in Niagara, without it, we would be scattered all over the city,” he said.

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