28 years of services for people with spinal cord injuries provided by Motivation for free
Motivation Romania Foundation joins organizations from all around the world to celebrate Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Day on September 5th. This year’s theme, announced by ISCoS – International Spinal Cord Society is Access to services for people with spinal cord injuries; a less complicated life.
Every year, thousands of people are losing their mobility because of car accidents, swimming or playing incidents, falling from heights or other causes. Spinal cord injuries occur when the spinal cord is affected and they involve mobility, sensitivity and balance-related disfunctions. This means that people with spinal cord injuries can’t feel and control their bodies, below the injury’s level. Some of the basic things become real challenges: moving around, dressing, taking their shoes on and taking care of themselves.
Ioana is one of the persons with spinal cord injuries who participated in Motivation’s programs. Last year, she was crossing the street at the pedestrian crossing when she was hit by a car. She and her family went to rough times, uncertainty and helplessness. At 40 years old, she needed to learn again all the basic things from the beginning. Her motivation were her two children and she is grateful that now, less than one year after the accident that changed her life, she can do basic things again. After she participated in the independent living training program organized by Motivation, she can prepare the breakfast for her children, watch movies with them and be their mother. “After six months in hospital, I was supposed to go home and be, for my children, what I used to be before – their mother. After the accident, at least in the early days home, I had a very hard time. I used to spend a lot of time in bed and only one or two hours in the wheelchair. Now, since I came to Motivation, I can go to the kitchen to make coffee, make sandwiches for the morning, wash the dishes. I even tried sweeping the floor. I was happy when I was able to go over the threshold at my house.”, said Ioana.
Cristi’s life changed instantly. He was at the pool with his cousin, it was summer and they wanted to cool down. When he jumped into the pool, Cristi’s forehead hit the bottom of the pool and he couldn’t feel anything anymore. He just hoped for someone to hear him and take him at the surface of the water because he could no longer move. He was 20 years old.
Ioana and Cristi are two out of over 100 people with spinal cord injuries from all over the country who are participating for free, every year, in active rehabilitation programs for independent living, organized by Motivation. The main goal is to get back to a natural life, with regular activities.
”Our team at Motivation guides the participants in the active rehabilitation programs to go back to their normal life and pursue their dreams. The stories of our participants are diverse and surprising, just like the people who are living them. Our approach focuses on functionality and uses the power of the personal example. Our independent living trainers are wheelchair users themselves and they guide participants to discover their abilities and use them every day, alongside the other members of the team – physiotherapists, social workers, wheelchair technicians. The informative sessions highlight topics such as preventing medical complications, accessing the rights of people with disabilities, overcoming emotional and sexual issues. Practical sessions are meant to help participants acquire independent living skills – starting with wheelchair handling techniques like crossing thresholds, going up and down on ramps, continuing with how to dress, self-care and self-management. Through our programs, we change lives for the better, we encourage people to discover themselves and move on with their lives.” Erika Garnier, Active Rehabilitation Program Coordinator.
As a result of our experience and as stated in the International Perspectives on Spinal Cord Injuries (IPSCI) report, published by the World Health Organization (WHO), spinal cord injuries can have devastating effects not only physically, but also psychologically and socially for those who acquire them, as well as for their families. However, in an accessible environment, with appropriate medical and independent living services, as well as with mobility equipment that meet their needs, people with spinal cord injuries can lead fulfilled lives.
On World Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Day, we think about the children and adults who have joined us over the years and who learned from us how to carry on with their lives. We think of the people like Ioana and Cristi, whose accidents turned their world upside down, shook their self-confidence and their future plans. Anyone can experience a spinal cord injury and the stories of those who participated in our programs are the proof for this; we shared them on our YouTube channel. We know from our experience that the right services can change lives for the better and we will continue to offer them for people with spinal cord injuries.
We invite everyone to support people with disabilities in need of proper wheelchairs and guidance towards independent lining by making a donation on our website, following this link https://motivation.ro/en/support-motivation/.
People with spinal cord injuries in Romania can get in touch with the Motivation team through the Call Center for Wheelchair Users: 0800 030 762, toll free, available from Monday to Friday, 09:00 AM – 04:00 PM. Another useful tool is our MotiActiv mobile app which can be downloaded for free and offers useful tips for an active life in a wheelchair.