Most of us get up from sitting and walk without thinking about how we do it. Walking is automatic!
But for children with Cerebral Palsy (CP) and similar mobility issues, this is nigh impossible. Disorders such as CP affect the development of movement and posture, as a result of damage to the fetal or infant brain.
Around New Zealand, Lions Clubs are doing something to help. With the aid of a wonderful device called a Hart Walker, many CP children are enabled to stand up and move around by themselves. The simple act of standing upright instead of confinement to a bed or wheelchair helps the child’s body to develop in a remarkable way; internal organs are able to function better, and the lungs open up for efficient breathing, which increases the oxygen supply to the brain.
Specialists from the Lions Clubs Child Mobility Foundation (CMF) assess the children referred to them, and if viable, are set on the path to obtaining a Hart Walker. The CMF team of trustees oversees the co-ordination of applicants, hiring contracted specialist orthotists and physiotherapists to examine the child, and fit and adjust the Hart Walkers.
The cost of the Hart Walkers, including adjustments as the child grows, is around $10,000. Funding comes from many sources, but NZ Lions Clubs CMF are the catalysts, with Lions Clubs providing hands-on fundraising assistance to parents and caregivers.
CMF raises awareness each October with the ‘Walktober’ event, encouraging NZ Lions Clubs and supporters to organise events such as walks, BBQs, and cake stalls etc to raise the profile of the cause, as well as the vital funding.
Your local Lions Club ‘Walktober’ event is the Blockhouse Bay-Lynfield’s Fun Walk, from 9am on Sunday 20th October 2019 at Blockhouse Bay Primary School. Go to www.bhbl-lions.org/walktober for details and register.
Community Groups – The challenge is on!
Community groups such as scouts, schools and churches are challenged to enter teams and get behind this worthy cause. One school has already entered, and an anonymous funder has offered sponsorship for four teams of five people, which if it doesn’t get taken up will be donated directly to the cause.