The Donegal-based No Barriers Foundation is planning an exciting few months of fundraising events to raise money for revolutionary equipment to benefit local people with disabilities.
The No Barriers Foundation is a not for profit company founded by Chartered Physiotherapist Johnny Loughrey, limited by guarantee and working in association with Letterkenny Lions Club.
The Foundation aims to raise €150,000 by the end of 2017 to purchase an Eksobionics robotic skeleton, which will help people with MS, brain injury and stroke effects to improve their mobility.
Upcoming Fundraising events:
We are jumping out of a perfectly good plane!!!
We are roped 50 brave souls into doing a Skydive over the world’s 2nd most scenic airport Carrickfinn on August 6th, 7th, 8th. If you like to conquer your fear of heights join us, alternatively sponsor one of our Jumpers we would love to hear from you.
JT Physiotherapy: Reformathon June 1Oth
The clinic will be running Reformer Pilates all day!
They are also offering Physiotherapy/Massage at normal prices with 100% of the money raised on the day going towards No Barriers. (Please book appointments by contacting the clinic 074 9111010)
There will also be a doctor in the house offering free medical checks, in case your blood pressure is high at the thought of jumping out of that plane!!
And after all that you might just need a coffee! We have the perfect solution Richard Finney from The Counter on hand to take care of your caffeine hit!
What No Barriers is all about:
- Breaking down actual and perceived barriers to exercise and physical activity for those with physical and mental disabilities.
- Improving physical and mental health through evidence based Physiotherapy, exercise and nutritional support.
- Encouraging greater levels of independence by improving strength and physical fitness in those with physical and mental disabilities.
- Facilitating the integration of those with physical and mental disabilities into group exercise within their community.
- Working alongside other non-profit and government led organisations for the best interests of those with physical and mental disabilities.
In 2016 No Barriers Physiotherapist Johnny Loughrey worked with Paralympics Ireland and travelled to the Rio Paralympic Games with the team.
Since working closely with Paralympics Ireland Johnny could see the perceived barriers that exist for those with disabilities – seeing the level of conditioning and seeing how much we can actually do with the right type of equipment.
The philosophy of No Barriers is recognising the need in our community to create a platform that breaks down the barriers that exist to exercise, our most basic yet most powerful tool to stay fit, healthy and happy.
Those with any form of limited mobility or disability can train in the same way that able-bodied individuals can but many do not have the support they need to:
a) Find out what sports/types of exercise they can do.
b) Have the finances to be able to get this support privately as for many their physical or mental disability has affected their ability to gain employment.
c) Realise it’s ok to have a different baseline fitness/level of functional ability from the general population but that the principles of exercise are the same- small increases in strength/mobility over time reap big results. Get fitter, live longer.
We need to think outside the box.
An enterprise such as this in the community would benefit a huge amount of people. We are not interested in setting up a project that isolates these individuals in a clinical/hospital type environment.
We are striving to create a centre, which can cater for both those with disabilities but also the general public/kids/elderly so that people can exercise side by side supervised by a trained health professional- create a socially inclusive health centre.
Someone using an EKSO robotic exoskeleton with a spinal cord injury can be walking past individuals doing a low impact circuit training class or using the HUR strength suite. A friendly, positive and inclusive environment.
When completed this would be the benchmark that the rest of Ireland would be looking towards- there is no other facility in Ireland that would have this type of equipment or give those with physical and mental disabilities these opportunities.
The specialist equipment needed the EKSO exoskeleton would cost in the region of €160,000 ex Vat.
We really think this is feasible and provided we can get the above parties/organisations to work together we could have Ireland’s leading inclusive Rehab/Exercise facility in the country.
Furthermore, the most recent figures available show that Donegal has a disproportionately high incidence of collision-related head injury while the 2015 National Stroke Register shows that outside of Dublin and Cork, Donegal has the highest incidence of stroke in the country.
“As someone who is learning to walk again, I cannot stress how much a piece of equipment like an Exoskeleton would mean to my own recovery. I tried one out a few months back and it was an amazing feeling to be upright and walking, it gave me a confidence and a push to keep improving,” said Ex-Senator Jimmy Harte.
“Donegal has wonderful people working in the health service but unfortunately they are working with limited resources. An exoskeleton for the county would mean that people like myself with head injury, stroke or MS would have an opportunity to explore other avenues of rehabilitation and maximise our chances to live as independently as possible, and improve our physical strength.
Director of the No Barriers Foundation, Johnny Loughrey, said the Exoskeleton is a comprehensive gait therapy tool which provides unparalleled rehabilitation for patients and therapists alike.
“Everyone will have different levels of ability and everyone’s recovery story is individual so it’s important to manage expectations.”
The fundraising drive is part of the No Barrier’s Foundation’s ‘Positive Steps’ campaign which aims to secure an Exoskeleton for Donegal by the end of the year. It is being run in conjunction with the Letterkenny Lions Club.
There are currently 4 Eksobionic suits in Ireland, all owned by charitable organisations, only 1 of which is available for public use and based in Cork. There are currently none based along the North West or West Coast.
This equipment allows wheelchair users, ranging from those with mild muscle weakness to those with severe spinal cord injuries, to walk again whilst in the machine.
There are numerous health benefits to this, including improving muscle strength/tone where able, maintaining joint range of movement, preventing osteoporosis, regulating blood pressure and improving bladder and bowel function.
There are also many psychological benefits the user receives from being able to stand and exercise alongside those within his/her community.
This world class equipment would be very beneficial in Donegal and should be available for public use.
Once discharged from rehabilitation in the hospital setting, this kind of support would provide an invaluable means to progress with their recovery. These individuals should not be isolated in a clinical/hospital setting.
Once purchased, the objective is that the Exoskeleton will be located in various towns throughout the county on a regular basis. The locations will all have suitable wheelchair access and toilet facilities.
A specialist Neuro Physiotherapist, who is already trained in using the EKSO exoskeleton, will be working alongside the project.
You can contact us on: Our New Website: Nobarriers.ie
Find us on Facebook: No Barriers Foundation
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