26 February 2010

A Holistic Approach to Pain Relief

Can pulsating electromagnetic field therapy be the solution to your chronic pain?

Many physicians are now referring pain sufferers to non-drug based therapies in order to reduce drug dependencies, invasive procedures, and/or side effects. The challenge has been to find the least invasive, affordable, non-toxic approach that is easy to administer with verifiable results.

One of the fastest growing methods of natural pain relief is Pulsating Electromagnetic field therapy. Used by doctors, trainers, and for personal use, over 400,000 sessions with results are a testament to its power. This safe and effective modality is used for accelerated therapeutic purposes with a wide range of conditions including injuries, chronic pain, neurological conditions, and more. By applying PEMF, cellular functions can be improved considerably, and therefore this procedure is being used as a means of drug free therapy.

Hospitals use PEMF therapy to accelerate the healing of fractures which can be treated even through a plaster cast, since magnetic fields permeate all materials. There have been over 2,000 double blind tests performed on PEMF therapy showing positive results. Madigan Army Medical Center, Tacoma, Wash. conducted a double blind test for migraines using PEMF therapy with positive results of 75 percent showing decreased headache activity.

From clinical experiments we know that PEMF can reduce pain sensations almost immediately. When cells are toxic, degenerated, or damaged, the cell membrane gets thick and stiff; therefore, the electrical and chemical receptors don’t function properly. During a PEMF session when the pulsating field reaches the cells, the cell membranes are exercised and they become more flexible and more vital like they were when they were younger and healthier. The cells expand; fresh nutrients and oxygen rush into the cells. The cells then contract and push toxins out. As a result, the cells are cleansed and refreshed.

We can also think of PEMF as a battery recharger for the human cell. We now know that the voltage of a healthy cell is about 70 millivolts, and when we get sick that voltage can drop to as low as 30 millivolts or lower in the cases of terminal cancers. Pulsed electromagnetic fields act like a catalyst and battery recharger for the human cells and these PEMFs are critical for human metabolism

All types of cells respond: muscle cells, blood cells, brain cells, and bone cells. Why? The magnetic field “permeates” all cells in the body simultaneously down to the last molecular level—reaching parts of the body that cannot be influenced efficiently with other methods for the purpose of enhancing ion exchange, cell voltage, normalizing circulation, and increasing the oxygen utilization of the cell. Acute and even chronic conditions may disappear completely.

Just as with medications, there are precautions to take with PEMF therapy. It should not be used with electrical implants, pregnancy, seizures, or prior to surgery. Unlike some medications, there are no harmful side effects.

If cells do not receive the PEMFs of the earth, they die within hours. Human beings, as well as all earthly life forms, are somehow energetically attuned to the weak background magnetic field of the planet. The earth emits a magnetic field, but you may not realize that this magnetic field changes with time and has a very precise frequency and intensity that drives all life on planet Earth. Much more than a simple directional guidance for birds, bees and human navigation, this pulsed electromagnetic field of the earth is the catalyst, the very spark of all biochemical reactions occurring in life forms. We as humans need these pulsating magnetic fields not only to be healthy, but to actually stay alive!

NASA scientists observed a new, previously unreported illness experienced by a number of the first astronauts. This illness came to be known as “space sickness.” Eventually, a decreased exposure to the earth’s magnetic field was found to be responsible for space sickness.

Since those historic flights zero field studies, experiments done in chambers made of a special metal called “Mu,” which blocks all magnetic fields of the earth, have confirmed that living cells will die within hours if they do not receive the PEMFs of the Earth. That includes human cells. So PEMFs are as much a required element of health as food, water, oxygen, and sleep. In fact you can live longer without food and water than you can without PEMFs.

Because of the Earth’s weakening magnetic field and the steel and concrete structures we inhabit, we are not getting the full benefit of the earth’s electromagnetic field. We are also being exposed to more high frequency electromagnetic pollution today then in past years. This comes in the form of computers, TVs, cordless phones, cell towers, and cell phones just to name a few.

Thus, PEMF devices are more applicable now than ever before. Who wouldn’t want to get your millivolts up? It is fast and easy and if you can find effective pain relief and healing without drugs—why not? The technology is restoring vitality and hope creating a large impact in today’s world.

Robin Mize is a Certified Stress and Pain Specialist and a proud member of the Sandpoint wellness council

You can reach her by email at mizewell(at)gmail.com, on the Internet here, , or by phone at 208-263-8846.

25 February 2010

Food and Strange Impulses In Dim lit Rooms.

The other night I was at dinner with my my family, enjoying Chinese food. For some reason I was very reserved and inwardly searching and listening to my hearts cravings. The resturant was very dim in lighting and I didn’t have my glasses so it was hard to make out people’s faces from a distance.
But as I looked over to my right there was a man sitting alone, he seemed to be in his own world. He was there, but yet somplace else. It really defined being in two places at once. I don’t think this man was married, because rarely see a married man eating alone without his wife or kids, unless he’s away on bussiness.
Anyway, I think this man and I glanced at one another a few times. But I started to wonder why people often go to Coffee shops by themselves, even if they look occupied with their laptops or cell phones. I think that most people go to simply not be alone and be around others. Even if we don’t know a thing about the people around us.
As I was sitting there though I got this impulse, to maybe invite the man over to our table, or to go over to him. But I ignored the impulse, probably to prevent myself from looking foolish. Wouldn’t it be something, if I actually did take a leap of faith and approach the man. All to find out that my impulse was wrong?
I mean, In Bible College we had to go out and share the message of Christ with three people. And that was the most awkward set of experiences I’ve ever had in my entire life. And in honesty I’ve kind of shyed away from going out and making it a point to evangalize my faith.
It just seems so fake to me, probably because so many others do it all over TV. But what if my impulse was something of divine inspiration and as a result, I would then have missed a chance to share hope with someone? I guess I’ll never know. But I supposse it’s sometimes to be foolish, then let certain moments pass us by.
Moral of the story? Next time you see someone alone.. Maybe take a chance, ask them to eat with you.. Or drink Coffee together. And if they say no to you, at least you were being true to yourself. I’ll do my best not to make that mistake again.

22 February 2010

I'm With KOKO

People always ask me what the hardest part about living with Cerebral Palsy and being in a wheelchair. They are always slightly surprised when I answer. People tend to assume and rightly so, that it would be the big stuff, like not being able to walk, not being able to use the toilet, and have to rely on everyone to do everything for you. Sometimes, that is true. It is difficult, but it is something I never had the ability to do, so I don’t know what it would be like to walk. I have no experience, so I do not know what I am missing. Therefore, the hardest part is the little stuff. The stuff that everyone else can do, but I can’t because of a little tweak in the system. The tweak could be the fact that I can’t look in the fridge to see what we have to eat. Certainly, I could ask someone, but it would be nice to look on my own. Another tweak is when I can’t go see a movie. For example, this week I wanted to see Shutter Island - but because of “MY” Cerebral Palsy I have reaction to being surprised. So, if something scares me, makes me jump, or catches me off guard, I can seriously hurt my back. Since, my back was already hurting, I didn’t want to take the chance with this movie. It is this uncertainity that makes me angry and what would seem to be the simplest thing for the average person, is the most difficult to me.
With adversity comes triumph. You can’t have the good without having the bad. Overcoming a struggle can dissipate the actual struggle. Success in the face of insourmountable odds is what keeps me going and that is what the Keep On Keeping On Foundation is all about! Taking a situation and making the best of it!
Please join us on Thursday, March 4th for our March Forth Celebration of Perseverance. This will be our First Annual Awards Ceremony and Dinner. Click on the link for tickets!
I’m With KOKO are you???
Mike Berkson

21 February 2010

Music boosts brain development

There is strong evidence to show that music lessons help children improve their language skills, according to neuroscientist Professor Nina Kraus.

She has led the first research to demonstrate that playing a musical instrument significantly enhances the brain's sensitivity to speech sounds.

The benefits could help normal children as well as those with developmental problems such as dyslexia and autism, she argues.

Speaking at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Diego, California, Prof Kraus said: "Playing an instrument may help youngsters better process speech in noisy classrooms and more accurately interpret the nuances of language that are conveyed by subtle changes in the human voice.

"Cash-strapped school districts are making a mistake when they cut music from the curriculum."

At her laboratory at Northwestern University in Everston, Illinois, researchers developed a way to show how the nervous system responds to the acoustic properties of speech and music sounds with sub-millisecond precision.

They found the effectiveness with which the nervous system interprets sound patterns is linked to musical ability.

"Playing music engages the ability to extract relevant patterns, such as the sound of one's own instrument, harmonies and rhythms, from the 'soundscape,' said Prof Kraus. "Not surprisingly, musicians' nervous systems are more effective at utilising the patterns in music and speech alike." Previously her team found that sensitivity to sound patterns correlates with reading skill and the ability to hear speech against background noise.

"People's hearing systems are fine-tuned by the experiences they've had with sound throughout their lives," said Prof Kraus. "Music training is not only beneficial for processing music stimuli. We've found that years of music training may also improve how sounds are processed for language and emotion."

20 February 2010

Kinross scoliosis sufferer is now pain free

Feb 19 2010 Perthshire Advertiser Friday

A FORMER Kinross sheep farmer-turned green crusader has finally put 20 years of back pain behind her.

Carol Davies (63), currently planting 1000 conservation trees on her Nethermoss Farm, was plagued with excruciating pain due to a condition called scoliosis that got increasingly debilitating in her 40s.

A sideways curvature of the spine, scoliosis affects more than four per cent of the UK’s population.

Conventional treatment, however, involves waiting until a patient’s condition is severe enough for a high-risk operation using surgically-inserted metal rods to fuse the spinal column.

But after a month of alternative, non-surgical treatment three years ago at a new Suffolk-based clinic using techniques available in Europe for decades, Mrs Davies is now relatively pain-free.

“At the clinic I did six hours of special exercises a day,” she said.

“There were a lot of stretching and breathing exercises designed to de-rotate the spine. I have to say, it was a tough four weeks.”

Now no longer on painkillers, she does 40 minutes of special exercises a day and visits the clinic once a year.

Although her scoliosis only started causing major grief much later, it was first diagnosed after a horse riding accident when she was 14.

“The doctors found it when they saw my x-rays,” Mrs Davies explained.

“A lot of people have scoliosis and don’t know until it starts causing them pain when they’re older.”

It was only when Mrs Davies and her husband Ted started running a flock of 30 Suffolk breeding ewes at their farm 24 years ago that her back pain really started to flare up.

“I’d always been active, played a lot of squash, but the pain started to get much worse,” she said.

Finding only temporary relief from treatments such as massage, acupuncture and physiotherapy, she was eventually referred by her GP to an Edinburgh consultant who told her a “risky” operation was her only option.

“He advised me not to have it and to come back and see him if the pain became unbearable,” she said.

But by the time she reached her pain threshold, it appeared she had missed the boat.

“(The consultant) wouldn’t see me as I was 59 and he was only treating younger people. I was quite annoyed as the pain was really debilitating, really dreadful,” she said.

Fortunately, Robert, one of her two sons, called to tell her about a breakfast TV report on the just opened Scoliosis SOS clinic in Sussex, where she subsequently sought non-surgical treatment.

“I suffered for a long time and now I’m standing up straight, which I certainly wasn’t before,” she said.

Her days of “couping” sheep, however, are now also behind her.

“We gave up the sheep breeding in 2008, only have four sheep left, but we’re now planting broadleaf trees for conservation, hoping to help with the carbon footprint of the world,” said Mrs Davies.

13 February 2010

Skills for Health and Children's Workforce Development Council Project info

Dear all,

I’m updating people with regards to some national work that may be of interest to you, your members or the families you support. Although this project is for those working with children and young people we work with a number of adult services both in the UK and overseas.

Postural care / therapeutic positioning involves supporting individuals and their families to understand how and why the body changes shape – including the rotational changes seen in scoliosis. They are then taught how to apply corrective forces using sleep systems. This is a gentle, cost effective and common sense approach. Non-invasive and validated measurement of body symmetry (available since 1992) provides both families and clinicians with evidence for this therapeutic intervention and for their progress. Our reference list is attached and we have work detailing the patterns of body shape distortion due for publication within a peer reviewed Journal in April of this year. This project is with children who have additional disabilities but the principles apply to all.

The following has been released via a number of email networks such as the UK Health and Learning Disability Network, the PMLD Network and the Choice Forum. If you need any further information please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Postural care project is being piloted in 8 Primary Care Trusts across England

The project, a one year training programme for the workforce supporting the needs of children and young people with complex and continuing healthcare needs, commenced in January 2010.
Working in partnership with Postural Care Community Interest Company, the project, initiated by Skills for Health as part of a Children’s Workforce Development Council/Skills for Health work programme, is developing training for practitioners and families to protect body shape through the safe use of therapeutic positioning, including scoliosis.

The programme is being piloted across England with participating PCTs training one person to become a licensed postural care trainer who will cascade awareness session training to multi agency learners.
The learning from the project is to be reported and shared December 2010.

To find out more about the project contact Pam Truman Programme Manager Children at Skills for Health – email available on request

To find out more about postural care and how it can help children and young people with complex needs visit Postural Care CIC at www.posturalcareskills.com

We manage the UK Postural Care Network which is a free email based network open to anyone with an interest in the conservative protection of body shape. To join simply email your name, role and location to network@posturalcareskills.com

We are also part of a national steering group including representation from family leadership groups, the Department of Health, the National Patient Safety Agency and the Royal College of Nursing. Should you be interested in the work of this group or if you would like to find out about joining us please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Thanks for your time,
Kind regards,

Tesco Positive Mum of The Year 2009

Our one day courses are available for booking now. Day 1 Practical Positioning, Day 2 Measuring body Symmetry - book either or both (10% discount if both days are booked at the same time)
23rd and 24th March, 15th and 16th June, 31st August and 1st September, 9th and 10th November - Book early to avoid disappointment, strictly limited to 25 places per day

Postural Care CIC - Community Interest Company
Office: 01827 304 938
Mobile: 07729 552 626

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook - look for us under Postural Care.

11 February 2010


February 9, 2010 by afp

I would venture to say many of us have issues with spasticity or tone. What is this, what does it mean, and what is the difference? My, oh, my, I was confused when they would mention these two different terms, and then I decided to dig. I found out it was more confusing trying to express the meanings.

I did find out that spasticity seems to react differently for each of us. Spasticity and tone affects us with weird mannerisms. Some do well on medications, some do not. Some have pain associated with this, where some do not. Some are assisted by physical therapy, whereupon reading further, it shall be detailed.


Overview of spasticity

The most common causes of spasticity are lack of oxygen to the brain before, during, or after birth (cerebral palsy); physical trauma (brain or spinal cord injury); blockage of or bleeding from a blood vessel in the brain (stroke); multiple sclerosis (MS); or infection of the brain (encephalitis) or the covering of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis).

When damage that causes the eventual spasticity first occurs, the muscles are usually flaccid before they become spastic. Spasticity may not be present all the time—it may be related to a trigger, or stimulus, such as pain, pressure sores, a urinary tract infection, ingrown toenails, tight clothing, or constipation.

Spasticity may be painful, especially if it pulls joints into abnormal positions and or prevents a normal movement of the joints. Spasticity may range from slight muscle stiffness to permanent shortening of the muscle. When the muscle is permanently shortened, the joint becomes misshapen. This is called a contracture and is one of the most significant consequences of spasticity. Another closely related problem with muscles in many people who have spasticity is clonus, or rapid repeated muscle spasms.

While spasticity may affect any muscle group, there are some common patterns. When spasticity affects one or both arms, flexed (bent) elbow, flexed wrist, and clenched fist may result. These can all affect the person’s ability to dress, eat, or write or may interfere with balance, thereby causing difficulties with walking. Spasticity of the legs can cause flexed hip, adducted (or scissoring) thigh, stiff knee, flexed knee, equinovarus foot, and hyperextended great toe (which is also called the hitchhiker’s toe). Spasticity of one or both legs may interfere with the ability to walk, position in bed, sit, transfer, or stand.



Overall, spasticity affects about 500,000 people in the United States, and more than 12 million people throughout the world. The number of people affected depends upon the cause of the spasticity. In the United Kingdom, approximately 100,000 people have a first-time stroke every year, and an additional 30,000 have a repeated stroke. Stroke afflicts almost 2,000 out of every 1 million people per year worldwide. Almost 40 percent of people who have a stroke continue to have spasticity one year later.

One year later? Ha! I bet, besides myself, many still have it years later.


Clinical examination

A standard evaluation of the nervous system forms the basis of the clinical examination in spasticity. Strength and reflexes are both assessed in this examination. The clinician asks the patient to relax and then moves the joints through their full range of motion at various speeds. Spastic muscles may have a “spastic catch,” exhibit the “clasped knife” phenomenon, or both. Observing the person with spasticity perform activities such as walking, drinking from an open cup, and moving from one position to another often yields valuable information.

The clinical examination also includes an evaluation of deep tendon reflexes. The most commonly used method of testing these reflexes is the tapping technique. With the patient sitting on the examination table and his or her legs hanging freely, the examiner gently but firmly taps below the knee (testing the patellar reflex), first on one leg and then the other.

The responses should be the same in the two legs. Similar techniques may be used to test reflexes in the Achilles tendon (behind the ankle), and reflexes may also be checked in the biceps, triceps, and brachioradialis muscles of the arms.


The Spasticity Management Team

The best treatment of spasticity usually includes an active patient or advocate and caregivers working with several health-care professionals from various medical backgrounds. Members of this team may include one or more of the following people.

A neurologist is a medical doctor trained in disorders of the nervous system. The neurologist may diagnose the neurologic problem; prescribe treatments, including medications and physical and occupational therapy; and refer the patient for surgical evaluation if necessary. The neurologist may also inject the chemodenervation treatments (see the section on treatment that follows).

A physiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation. The physiatrist may design the rehabilitation program, working with other team members to maximize the patient’s function and minimize the disabling aspects of the neurologic injury. The physiatrist may also prescribe medications and administer chemodenervation treatments.

Physical Therapist
A physical therapist is a healthcare professional who is responsible for the physical aspects of treatment. The physical therapist may perform or direct another person to perform the exercises that are necessary to assist in maintaining the range of motion of limbs affected by spasticity. The physical therapist may also apply and fit braces, splints, or casts that may be prescribed by the physiatrist or other treating physician.

In addition, the physical therapist may direct training to improve the patient’s ability to walk or move and may instruct patients and caregivers on how to position affected arms and legs to help reduce spasticity. A physical therapist often works closely with an occupational therapist to design changes in the home and equipment that might be necessary to accommodate the patient’s needs.

Occupational therapist
An occupational therapist is a healthcare professional who specializes in adaptation of the physical environment to meet the patient’s needs. The occupational therapist may teach modifications for dressing, feeding, and grooming to the patient and caregiver. This therapist may also offer expertise on adaptive devices such as wheelchairs and bath equipment and may advise on home and workplace modifications to increase accessibility and ease of use. The occupational therapist is usually the medical professional who advises the school on issues such as seating, writing, and use of facilities.

A neurosurgeon is a medical doctor who is specially trained to perform surgical procedures related to the nervous system. For example, when a patient with severe spasticity has a positive response to a screening test (intrathecal baclofen bolus) and is then recommended to receive continuous intrathecal baclofen (ITBTM Therapy), the neurosurgeon may implant the baclofen delivery pump.

Neurosurgeons may also perform an operation to destroy selected sensory nerves at their entry point into the spinal cord (selective dorsal rhizotomy) when other treatments cannot offer adequate spasticity relief. When a patient requires exposure of a target nerve for chemodenervation, the neurosurgeon is usually the physician who performs that operation; a neurologist or physiatrist then usually performs the chemodenervation.

Orthopedic surgeon
An orthopedic surgeon is a medical doctor who is specially trained to perform operations related to bones, joints, muscles, and surrounding connective tissue. These types of procedures may help to reduce or correct contractures that lead to abnormal positioning of joints. Orthopedic operations often involve reconstruction or revision of tendons and bones. The orthopedic surgeon may also assist with the fitting of braces and assessing growth and development.

Spasticity treatment
In some patients with mild spasticity, the best treatment may be no treatment, with a watch-and-wait strategy. Typically, treatment is reserved for spasticity that causes pain, interferes with activities of daily living or sleep, or leads to increasing levels of functional disability.

Some key questions that should be answered before beginning any treatment for spasticity include:
1. Is treatment necessary?
2. Do the patient and caregiver have the time and resources necessary to put the treatment into action?
3. Will the treatment improve the patient’s or the caregiver’s quality of life?


Treatment goals

Patient and family expectations regarding the possibilities of treatments and outcomes may be realistic or unrealistic. Inappropriate expectations about the effectiveness of treatment may lead to disappointment regarding relief of symptoms and pain. Therefore, ongoing communication and agreement by the patient, caregivers, and healthcare professionals regarding the goals of treatment are extremely important. The following list includes goals that are commonly developed in the treatment of spasticity.
· Relieve the signs and symptoms of spasticity
· Reduce pain, frequency of spasms, or irritating stimuli
· Improve gait, hygiene, activities of daily living, or ease of care
· Reduce problems with passive function, that is, the functions provided by the caregiver, such as dressing, feeding, transfer, and bathing
· Improve voluntary active motor function, that is, the behaviors and functions that are under the patient’s control, such as reaching for, grasping, moving, and releasing an object


Types of treatment

A combination of various types of treatment is usually required to attain the specific goals of treatment for a particular patient. Most people with spasticity require physical and occupational therapy to improve or maintain the range of motion in their spastic limbs.

Description of types of therapies: You can follow this at the following web link: www.wemove.org/spa/spa_pot.html.


Physical and occupational therapy

Although physical therapy is a mainstay of treatment for spasticity, there has been surprisingly little research conducted to support the use of these techniques. Physical therapy for spasticity refers to a range of physical (as opposed to drug or surgical) treatments. These treatments of spastic muscles are designed to reduce muscle tone, maintain or improve range of motion and mobility, increase strength and coordination, and improve care and comfort.

The choice of treatments is individualized to meet the needs of the person with spasticity. Physical therapy is the most common form of treatment for spasticity in children. The success of the therapy is often based upon the motivation of the person with spasticity and the caregiver, as well as the physical therapist’s skills.

Please note the last paragraph. Team effort is a must. The success of therapy is often based upon motivation of the person and the caregiver. If you are alone, the team may be you and the therapist. It will not work unless you have motivation. I refer it as “attitude.” I have written about “attitude” in previous articles. Get one !!! Never give up, I improve everyday despite two brainstem strokes.

Here are some additional sites for more info:
- www.webmd.com/pain-management/pain-management-spasticity
- www.geocities.com/aneecp/terms.htm
- www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/spasticity/spasticity.htm

Phone App To Improved Stroke Rehab

Led by Professor Linda Worrall from UQ's Clinical Centre for Research Excellence (CCRE) in Aphasia Rehabilitation, the study will be the first of its kind to use the technology in combining two complementary approaches to aphasia rehabilitation into one optimal treatment outcome.

Aphasia, a language difficulty attributed to injury of the brain, usually from stroke, is estimated to affect 80,000 Australians. It can vary from mild difficulties with finding words, or reading text, to not being able to understand what people are saying and being unable to speak.

As part of the study, 50 participants with aphasia will wear voice-activated recorders for four weeks to record the amount of time they talk each day.

The small device, to be incorporated into their mobile phone, will function in a similar way as a pedometer is used in the 10,000 steps program, by keeping track of the users "communicative fitness".

Professor Worrall said that participants would then be allocated to appropriate speech pathology programs based on their communicative fitness, which will help them gradually communicate more often.

"Our study aims to examine whether people with aphasia can improve their language and life participation by increasing the amount of time they talk during their everyday lives," she said.

"The benefits of this program for people with aphasia and their families is that it not only aims to improve language function but also to prevent or overcome the effects of social isolation that come from not being able to understand or communicate clearly with others.

"We envisage that this study will lead to better communication outcomes, less social isolation, and better quality of life for people with aphasia and their families."

Professor Worrall said that the CCRE has recruited all known available researchers associated with aphasia in Australia and relevant international experts to achieve this goal, and anticipates that the size of the team will double during the program.

The major outcome from research within the CCRE will be the development of the Australian Aphasia Clinical Pathway in close collaboration with speech pathologists and consumers.

University of Queensland

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10 February 2010

Colt McCoy motivates Frisco teen with cerebral palsy


Posted on February 9, 2010 at 9:24 PM

FRISCO — Zach Wester, a 15-year-old high school freshman from Frisco, is learning to walk again -- with the help of a Texas superstar.

Zach has cerebral palsy. He endured three surgeries to correct scoliosis. He set a goal for himself to walk 50 feet without resting. The Wakeland High School freshman underwent his first surgery when he was a third-grader. Since then, he's had two other surgical procedures.
After the last one, he could only crawl on his hands and knees. Zach’s father, James Wester, said his initial progress was very limited. “So for him to finally be able to heal up enough to be able to get moving and walking that far — it's been a long road," Wester said.

The sounds from the school's loudspeakers blared: “This is Colt McCoy, University of Texas quarterback.” As Zach's friends, family and aides converged on the school auditorium for his attempt at his goal, a recorded message was played from McCoy. Zach's face lit up with joy.
“To get a message like that, it made such a big difference to him, and his reaction was priceless," said Marisa Wester, Zach’s mother. After getting a boost from the Longhorns' quarterback, Zach started his 50-foot journey. Slowly he inched across the floor. As he got closer to his goal, the cheers got louder.

Zach made it. “I did a really good job," he said. And as he sat back down in his wheelchair, Zach gave one last gesture to his adoring fans and favorite quarterback: A "Hook ‘em Horns" sign.
E-mail sstoler@wfaa.com

07 February 2010

Resuce Me?

By: Mike Berkson

An interesting situation occurred this weekend. It was one of those things that you had to laugh at, instead of putting your fist through a wall. I went to the Cubby Bear (Chicago) for a birthday party. The party was on the second floor. So, obviously I had to take the elevator. (Side Bar: The reason this location was chosen was because it was accessible.) The elevator was not a traditional elevator, it was a lift that was converted into an elevator. It was only for people in wheelchairs, not for anyone or anything else. On the way up the ride was fine, a little bit cramped and a little slow, but fine. The party was great, I got to talk with friends and discuss possible venues for Handicap This, all in all a pretty good party. When we were ready to leave, we got in the elevator and one of the staff members pressed the button and turned the key. We were there for a good 30 seconds before we realized that something was wrong. We just thought it was really, really slow. They tried pressing it a few more times, the consensus was that it was frozen. My next thought was the stairs. Unfortunately, the 20 stairs were too narrow and too steep. We did consider having a group of people carrying me down the stairs. What makes this even more difficult is the fact that about 4 years ago, I had back surgery to straightened my spine. In the process they fused 2 titanium rods to my back each one about 18 inches long. This made the situation even more complicated. My safety would have been compromised. Our next option was to call the Fire Department. The staff at the Cubby Bear was more than accommodating. They called people on their day off including the manager, just to help us and they were happy to do it. When the Cubby Bear called the Fire Department and explained the problem, the Fire Department told them that since it was not an “emergency” there was nothing that they could do. The only way that they could come was if I needed to go to the hospital. Needless to say, the whole scenario was beyond comprehension. Luckily, after an hour and a half, the good people at Cubby Bear were able to fix the elevator. Living with Cerebral Palsy, I have had my share of experiences like this, we are no strangers to overcoming adversity. But what would have happened if the elevator did not work?

03 February 2010

What does Handicap This mean to you?

By John Frisco

To me, Handicap This! means no limitations. Mike epitomizes a severely handicapped young man. Stricken with severe cerebral palsy from birth, Mike has limited use of his body, yet he has successfully challenged those who claimed that “he would not be able to talk or lead a normal life”. Certainly his life is not normal, but Mike embraces and celebrates his life’s challenges and continues to go far beyond his so called “expectations”.

The play’s message is clear: We all have our handicaps; perhaps not as invasive as Mike’s affliction, but we all tend to put limitations on ourselves, thus thwarting our own progress in life. In Handicap This!, Mike shows us that despite the “challenges” we may face, we can go
beyond our personal handicaps and boundlessly live life to its fullest.

This play is a celebration of life and an inspiration to us all! May we all improvise, adapt and overcome!

I hope everybody can come out and experience this incredible production!

See you at the show!

January 21st @ 2pm

January 22nd @ 8pm

January 23rd @ 8pm

Oakton Community College, 1600 Golf Rd.

Studio One