The irony is – carers must look after themselves!

In my attempt to connect and advocate for carers I am trying to master several social media forums. Last night I wondered if a tweet would translate as a wordpress post, would just a title be understood to be a stand alone comment? Continue reading

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Starting the revolution with honesty and ideas at CarersNSW Conference #carersnswconf

I don’t know any celebrities but if I had the opportunity I’d hang out with Chris Bath. Chris facilitated the plenary discussion at the CarersNSW Conference where I was invited as a carer representative. A natural gem, who better than Chris to aid the panelists deliver their stories and ideas to an audience of professionals, service providers and the extended care community.

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Raising funds and awareness for the differently-abled helps carers too! #City2Surf

I signed the form that Emily assertively presented to me and realized I was; chief supporter, responsible carer, sandwich maker and jelly bean monitor for her City2Surf team on Sunday, August 9th, 2015.

From Hyde Park the course is 14 km through to the finish line at Bondi. I have not been involved in previous races but you can’t live in Sydney without knowing about the City2Surf Heartbreak Hill. Discard any visions of weeping lovers as they are dumped along the wayside or broken-hearted couples clutching their heaving chests as they wave tearful, red-eyed farewells. No, Heartbreak Hill threatens the thigh and calf muscles of all the participants as it has a false summit. What appears to be the hill-top is actually only a corner on a continuing rise. The undulations that follow through residential streets keeps everyone literally on their toes!

As the ink dried on my signature I rushed to Google the race site. I had to deep breathe through my alarm as I read…… Elite Wheelchair Athletes: This Start Group is for elite wheelchair athletes only. Athletes must be in a racing chair to compete in this Start Group and who will aim to complete the course sub 38mins.

38mins!  SUB 38mins!

Let’s go back to the beginning – Emily wants to raise awareness and funds for ParaQuad. An organisation that supports people with spinal cord injury in the community. As a ParaQuad member Emily could apply and was granted a scholarship which she put towards her University fees. Returning to University was an important milestone within Emily’s recovery goals.

ParaQuad supports life choices after spinal injuries. It also supports carers because if it aids Emily, it aids me as her full-time carer. With increased  resources and support Emily is empowered with more independence heading towards a positive future with opportunities.

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On our first training session we averaged 5 km an hour so we should finish the City2Surf course  in 3 hours. Add in a sandwich and jelly bean pit stop and maybe a finish time of 3.5 hours would be more realistic. Does that help put the elite wheelchair athletes into perspective!

Emily and her mate Cobie are determined to push their way through and enjoy the success that comes with a challenge. If you would like to support them and their carers by donating to ParaQuad please see their everyday heroes site here

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 Thank you from Emily, me and our track coach – The Big Black Beastie!

 

 

 

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Blog featured in Carers NSW newsletter

I opened the April / May edition of my Carers NSW newsletter and read my own story! I have reproduced the featured article for carers who are not yet members receiving the newsletter or who live outside NSW, Australia.

A Carer Story…

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A little genius can shine through everyday!

I watched The Theory of Everything while on a long haul flight 30,000 metres over Alaska. My lasting impression from the film revolved around the care Stephen Hawking received from his wife, family, friends and colleagues.

The story line I took away from the screen was that Stephen Hawking developed his theories and had the opportunity to expand intellectually contrary to the devastating decline of his body because others cared for him.

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It’s important to get out…

There’s no place like home” repeats Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, tapping her little sparkly red shoes . Here I am in Oz and I’m so aware that home is where I want to be. When it’s raining on a cold Sunday afternoon home is where the hearth is warm and the kettle boils ready for tea. When your feet ache from shopping all day home beckons with the opportunity to rest up on a long sofa. After a wonderful evening with friends my bed invites me to languish cozily under the covers but it’s important to get out.

We are all homing pigeons, each of us stack up memories that revolve around our homes and families. We can be ourselves in the privacy of our own homes. Our kitchens reflect our tastes, our decor reflects our personalities  and our lifestyle is reflected in all our interior choices. Homes are unique, intimate and wholly our own space. We can hide from the world, we can rejuvenate, we can rest and recuperate, we can prepare ourselves and gird ourselves for our next challenge.

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Strength 2 Strength program for carers

The Strength 2 Strength program for carers is specifically designed for family members of people with spinal cord injury:

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Coping with SCI becomes manageable

Recently I was rear ended in my car! I was minding my own business, slowing behind a vehicle that was indicating to turn right when that screech of braking wheels makes your shoulders rise in anticipation of the thump, a glance in the rear view mirror confirmed a Masda was in my truck.

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Concentrate on the real issue of healing.

I had time to read this week about how to cope in a crisis. One helpful book quoted insight-fully that focusing on the traumatic cause of disabling injury can prolong mental suffering. Focusing on what I can do to improve the situation keeps me moving forward towards an adapted future. Preoccupation with the genesis of a disability can be at the cost of my own post trauma reformation, growth and development. It is better to concentrate on the healing process, recovery, rehabilitation and facilitate new aspirations and goals. Continue reading

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