Testimonials

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Good job I joined LEGS!

 

As I navigated the new world of post-stroke paralysis, without LEGS it might never have occurred to me to move my arms upwards and thanks to LEGS sessions I have even relearned to coordinate right and left hands!

 

Without LEGS I would have spent the rest of my life unaware of sit to stands, calf raises and arm presses!

— LEGS participant

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LEGS has been instrumental in my physical and mental recovery from devastating sudden illness.

 

It has provided insider support, expert tips and tricks on how to survive and thrive and fun interactions with my peers in the group. 

— LEGS participant

In one of my first sessions a bubbly lady gave us her top tips on travelling abroad in a wheelchair and how best to get around Venice. Travel abroad? Venice?

 

Somehow I wasn't expecting that! Time for a reappraisal of what life might have to offer and it might be more interesting than I think, even though I am now living a ‘new normal’!

— LEGS participant

Image by Marco Secchi

LEGS staff are fun, relentless, very patient and a rich source of information. They share their expertise in weekly talks.

 

We discuss those topics and add our lived experiences to them in the weekly Neuro Café which then features in  the news on the LEGS website and acts as a resource for participants.

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— LEGS participant

Image by Bruno Nascimento

Sometimes we forget how much progress we have made until we look at our peers in a LEGS class and remind ourselves that not so long ago, that person next to you doing the exercises could hardly move a muscle.

 

Not so long ago, you yourself (now standing up or walking or drinking from a cup) couldn’t move a muscle either.

— LEGS participant

Someone at the airport forgot to secure the two-way gate which I had just grabbed as I tried to steady myself to get on the plane, and it flew open.

 

Luckily I had just done a LEGS class where they concentrated on balance and what to do if you were de-stabilised.

 

Because of that I was able to react and correct my stance; otherwise I am sure I would have plunged 4 metres onto the tarmac.

— LEGS participant

Image by Elena Kloppenburg
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LEGS is a friendly place where your peers will warmly celebrate those impressive minuscule physical achievements with you and encourage you to do more.

 

I am talking about those tiny imperceptible bits of progress which are so important to us which look invisible to the rest of the world!

— LEGS participant

Sarah Sparkes and the LEGS physio team have been a godsend for me and so many others. I was anxious about exercising with others with Neurological conditions and had been fearful of a pure Parkinson's group so a mixed Neuro exercise group was a happy medium for me. They targeted education and exercises to me within the group and were so kind and supportive I have improved more in the time with them than I have in 8 months of community physio input . Specialist care and so so kind. She really does SPARKLE!

— LEGS participant

Image by Yulissa Tagle

Fred's story

I was a social worker and managed a day centre for older people. I also worked in youth and community work and residential child care, so I value the importance of social relationships.

I retired in August 2017 and had a stroke in March 2018.

 

When I was recovering in my hospital bed, I thought to myself “well I’m still sucking air”! The physios in hospital rehab were great with me and helped me to start walking again. I learnt then that I could make progress. Then I appeared to hit a plateau and my recovery appeared to stagnate but I realised I was finding it easier to do tasks I had previously struggled with. This has remained a pattern during my recovery.

 

On my discharge from hospital I required a wheelchair. Again, the community based physios were great. As I learnt about physiotherapy, I realised the physios didn’t really have time in a 30-minute appointment to teach me how to do the exercises properly and safely. I have since learnt how much concentration is required, especially after a stroke, to remember the finer points of each exercise.

 

I tried to do these exercises, but I struggled at times to do them on my own and I had a number of falls during this time, which were a setback. I slowly learnt not to be too ambitious, and be more cautious in what I was doing. My balance was affected more than I fully appreciated. I found this frustrating because I used to walk and swim 5-6 times a week and I was used to achieving the challenges I set myself. 

 

I joined a local exercise class run by Chest, Heart and Stroke (a charity providing support for people currently at risk or living with chest, heart and stroke conditions). This group physio and social contact was very good for my physical and mental health. I then got botox treatment in my legs and this really helped my mobility. This dramatic improvement really helped me achieve greater independence and lifted my mood as I could achieve my targets.

As my therapy was ending, my physio suggested I refer myself to LEGS. This was a real game changer for me. During my initial assessment I knew the physio was really clued into my needs. This was very important for me and I felt really confident joining their classes, because to me they knew what they were doing. When I started the classes I became aware the physios were gearing my exercises to my level of need, despite being in a mixed ability group. This was very important because the physios continued to offer reassurance to myself and other participants only to do what we felt comfortable with.

I really enjoy meeting all the people in my LEGS groups. We come from a wide range of cultural and life experience backgrounds and I learn from them different ways of coping post-stroke. I love meeting the different personalities, seeing people come out of themselves and sharing a joke, and our ability to laugh at ourselves.

So, what is so good about LEGS? Well, I think it is the regular exercises we do, the sense of belonging to this group of people who are determined not to let a stroke stop them living their lives, a sense of fun during the sessions. The Neuro Café is an important part of my week now. They are a group of highly motivated people. 

Being in a group physio session is a great incentive/motivator to keep doing the classes. It is hard to do the exercises on your own so the regular appointments help. I also like linking the exercises to daily living functional tasks like polishing and doing the dishes! The teaching input is also very helpful to develop coping mechanisms post stroke and during Covid19 Lockdown