An Saol in Irish means “life” ☘️🇮🇪. The An Saol Foundation was set up by Reinhard Schaler (🇩🇪)-father of Pádraig, who suffered a severe brain injury back in 2013, while on a J1 visa in Cape Cod. Despite diar prognosis, with little hope or no chance of recovery, his parents didn’t give up! Letting him fight, and inspire others today! 👏
I knew of this foundation and met Reinhard, and his wife during an event, raising funds for Pieta house about 2 years ago. I was aware of the project that started in 2016. Little to my knowledge, after 4 years, the dream came true. Another reason showing that you should never give up! Reinhard was on Ireland AM, speaking about his son and the project in 2016, which was just a dream back then 👇 Proof that dreams certainly do come true 🧚♀️🌟
As you are all aware I started fundraising for weight support system therapy on my blog via the donation button. For the past few weeks I was looking for such therapy, also called the Lokomat or Robotic Gait Training. I know that there’s one in National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) Dun Laoghaire, where I was a patient in the end of 2016-start of 2017, however I never actually trained on it 🤷🏻♀️. Unfortunately I have never seen it being used while I was there for nearly 5 months🙄 and it’s only available for in-patients. I remember asking them on multiple occasions to be put on it, it was actually the reason I was excited for the admission, and the reply I was getting each time was: “We don’t have enough staff”, or “it’s not appropriate for you now”🙄. After NRH, the only option for a brain injury patient is a nursing home 🙄🤦🏻♀️. An Saol Foundation is the beginning of change-positive change for people like me. I found one lokomat available in Dublin, however it was sent to USA for servicing before the lockdown. When I contacted the place again few days ago, I received the sad news that it’s no longer available 😞. I was really upset, but started looking for another one in Ireland. I found one, but in Limerick 🤷🏻♀️🤦🏻♀️ (165km car ride), I thought well that’s far away, but I was prepared to travel, just to avail of that service. I was supposed to call this week to book a session…BUT on Thursday afternoon, a friend of mine, who used to take care of me messaged me that she’s now working for this foundation “An Saol”, and they are having an open day on Friday 10th of July 2020, and most of all they have the Lokomat there 🙉🙉🙉 Wow 🤩, I thought, not only is it located near me, but they have exactly what I’m looking for? This cannot be happening…another example of the power of attraction 🤗.
During Robot-assisted gait training (RAGT), a patient is placed in a supportive harness above a treadmill, and a robotic exoskeleton is attached to the lower limbs, making them move, helping to take steps on a treadmill, rewiring the brain (neuroplasticity) 💪👣🧠. You can really do robotic therapy at any stage of your recovery-there’s no such thing as inappropriate or not the right time🙄. Actually the earlier the better 👍, it should be done at early stages as well as later. Patients do it so they are in a standing position, for better circulation, so the legs get some stimulation/movement and signals fire to the brain 🧠👌. It can be only passive or a little active, therefore there is never the wrong time-like I was told in the NRH🙄🤦🏻♀️. Few months ago my physiotherapist recommended that the lokomat would be a great addition to my rehabilitation and complement it, trying to re-teach me how to walk. I’m now ready to actively take steps with the help of the machine-something like this isn’t possible with just physiotherapists! They cannot physically lift you, as well as move your legs. Sooo ..this happened on Friday 10th of July. 👇 a moment to remember, and the next BIG step (literally 😊) on my journey to recovery 👇
10th of July 2020 🇮🇪
When I arrived at the An Saol premises that day I was stunned! All the great equipment under one roof…😱 please pinch me, because it feels like I’m dreaming! The Erigo, Lokomat, and the Andago 👇
I can easily say that I haven’t seen such facility in Ireland. I would also say it’s the first of this kind! 🥰 It’s a dream come true for so many families, survivors who acquired a brain injury, staff employed there, who want to help and be a part of the rehabilitation process and recovery. It’s my dream come true also, I’m so excited that this equipment is available for my further rehabilitation. It’s a reality now…it’s happening 👣💪. I was actively engaging in the training that day, the next day my thighs and calfs were super sore 🙉🙈, but I was delighted because no pain no gain, right?! 💪I haven’t felt this feeling for over 4 years now…seeing myself walking in the mirror-felt so great and so natural. The perfect image. And the pain?..well it was a good pain, like after a gym workout 🏋️♀️☺️🥰👌💪
🦋 The most beautiful people are the ones who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths… Beautiful people do not just happen 🦋
A magical place like this would never come to existence without people’s enthusiasm, dedication and hard work. Especially without these two people and their families ☝️. I already mentioned Pádraig at the start of this post (on the right 👉), who continues to inspire today, and his parents. Reinhard’s and his wife’s love for their son motivated them to help others, pushing them towards helping others. During the opening, I learnt of Sara Walsh (on the left 👈), and researched her story. For her everything changed back in 2011, her and Pádraig have been patients in the same hospital-that’s when the two families met. Sadly she passed away in 2015. Her parents (who were present at the opening of An Saol), donated money that they fundraised for their daughter to this foundation. I never knew Sara, but it’s amazing that even though she’s an angel in heaven now 😇, she has made an imprint on my life, and will continue to do so on many people in the future. Memory of her will never die… I was thinking isn’t it so inspirational that I’m now training on this Lokomat, that’s in her name? It makes you think…definitely made me think, and be grateful! I feel like Sara is one of my angels now, looking at me on the Lokomat, from above and smiling ☺️. Her mum was a guest on RTÉ radio back in 2015, speaking about her daughter, and the experience of intensive therapy in Germany 👇 (Sara’s mum is a guest on the show from 1:17:00 onwards)
Lastly I would like to thank everyone who made An Saol possible, opening new doors for so many families, and people living with a brain injury in Ireland. THANK YOU! 🦋
🦋 As with a butterfly, adversity is needed to build character in people…🦋
Donations will go towards further rehabilitation costs, and also in support of my creative work. The next BIG step on my journey to recovery is the body weight support system therapy 👣💪. Thank you in advance for your help and support ! Klaudia❤️🦋
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15th of July 2020
P.S. A huge thank you to my dad 💑 for driving me to therapy, and being there with me! Your sacrifice, support, time, and belief in me are priceless ♥️ I Love You ♥️
6 thoughts on “☀️An Saol☀️”
Klaudia wiemy że ,,budzisz się do Nowego życia,i wiesz że możesz go zmienić.Wiesz że to wymaga pracy i cierpliwości,ale bądź szczęśliwa z odkrycia ŻE JEST TO MOŻLIWE”
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♥️ Dziekuje bardzo ☺️🦋
I am over the moon you found this place. Not long now, I just love you, your determination and the support from your family, what a team.
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Thank you for your support and believing in me! I love you too 😘
Great to see how much you enjoy coming to An Saol, Klaudia. Never give up!
Thank you Reinhard, for making it possible for survivors like me 🙏🏼! Also for the encouragement, I don’t plan on giving up 💪🏼👣