Help with road to recovery

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Shannon SmithAlbany Advertiser

In late May this year, Albany’s Kenny McGonnell was paralysed from the chest down after a motorbike accident in Albany and is now fund-raising for a restorative therapy bike for him and other locals to use.

There are only three of the bikes — which stimulates muscles through functional electrical stimulation — in WA. It costs $17,000 for a bike with six muscle tensing pads and $23,000 for a bike with 12 pads. Mr McGonnell said the more expensive bike stimulated more muscles at once.

“The pads get my legs moving — it’s sort of a conditioning of the body and also keeping them in shape,” he said.

“Keeping them in condition for a later date, so that if I was to get movement, they will be in a better state than what they are now.

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“Also electrolysis is a mind thing of activating the muscle at the right time again.”

The wheelchair is wheeled up to the bike and the patient’s legs strapped into the pedals.

It can be used to treat a range of conditions including spinal injuries like his, stroke and cerebral palsy.

He said there was a lack of these facilities in Albany and wanted to stop him, and others like him, having to move to Perth for rehabilitation, including Warrick Proudlove, who was left disabled in a car crash in 2011.

“Warrick goes to the same place as I and I spoke with his mum and it was good to talk to her about him and moving to Perth for help,” he said.

“They are the ones who pushed for the no-fault crash insurance, where you have to pay an extra $100 a year on your licence, and I am covered by that and so it would be great to help them as well.”

With more than $10,000 raised after a successful weekend of fundraising at local sporting competitions, Albany Community Foundation and key organiser Brett Scott are well on the way to the goal.

“I am still in Perth for probably another six weeks for physio, so maybe in that time we can get stuff sorted down there (Albany),” Mr McGonnell said.

He said he was looking at the things he could do, rather than things he could not.

“I’ve just always been like that and always had goals and challenges ahead, which the harder they get, the more I seem to like them,” he said.

“As funny as it sounds, it’s been a challenge that I want to put in front and give it all I have got — I just don’t like to be beaten.”

The home for the bike is yet to be decided. A search is under way for somewhere in town the public can access it freely.

To donate to help with the purchase of a restorative therapy bike for Albany, visit the ACF Facebook page for bank account details.

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