Letterkenny woman Nikki Bradley has been announced as the first charity ambassador for the No Barriers Foundation.
Nikki, who is an award-winning adaptive adventurer and motivational speaker, has come on board to represent the values of No Barriers as they provide specialist rehabilitation services in Donegal and Sligo.
The partnership is a perfect fit, according to Nikki, who leads her own campaign called Fighting Fit For Ewing’s to highlight the importance of exercise for rehabilitation.
After surviving cancer as a teen, Nikki suffered irreversible hip damage from the treatment and is now a permanent crutch user. However, she uses her challenges to overcome greater physical challenges and to motivate others.
Nikki’s feats, from scaling a glacier on crutches to completing a Four Peaks challenge, are about making the impossible possible.
“That’s the way of thinking I’d like to bring to No Barriers. And that’s the kind of thinking they have already so I think I’ll slot in nicely,” Nikki told Donegal Daily.
No Barriers, directed by Letterkenny Physiotherapist Johnny Loughrey, leads unparalleled rehab therapy with an Eksobionics robotic exoskeleton, alongside inclusive training for people with disabilities. Now based at FitHub Letterkenny, the foundation is piloting exercise classes for wheelchair users.
“What Johnny and the entire No Barriers team is doing is amazing,” Nikki said. “To get the opportunity to train in general is amazing, but to train in an environment where everyone else is training, I know for me that makes a huge difference.”
Nikki sees the clear benefits that come with people of all abilities training alongside each other.
“FitHub is a great facility, I find it very inclusive. I’ve trained here myself for years. Neil Barrett trained me at the start and he changed my way of thinking. They think outside the box all that time.
“For the people using the Exoskeleton, it is great for them to see others training, but more importantly for others to see them training, it’s a really inspiring environment to be in.
“When you are working out, it’s not easy. Everybody is sweating, but to see these people pushing themselves is really a great motivator for everybody,” she said.
Motivation is a key driver for Nikki, who brings contagious positivity to her motivational talks.
“I hope to bring my experiences and the knowledge I have gained over the last six years since setting up my campaign to No Barriers. I’ve come across lots of different challenges within challenges,” she said.
Nikki’s next challenge has taken an unexpected route. She had been training for the Dublin Marathon until a once-in-a-lifetime mission came along recently. Instead, she will be travelling to Africa next month with ALPS, a suicide prevention charity based in Northern Ireland.
“My way of thinking is: If I do the Dublin Marathon, the only person that benefits is me. If I travel to Africa and do this type of amazing work with an amazing group, I’m getting the opportunity to help others and give back. I’ve been so lucky since 2013 with my charity, so it feels right.”
Johnny Loughrey welcomed Nikki as an Ambassador for No Barriers, saying: “Nikki’s limitations have actually given her more mental strength and more determination to show they haven’t really limited her at all.
“Everything that Nikki is doing with Fighting Fit for Ewing’s ties in so well with No Barriers. We are delighted to have her on board. She pushes the boundaries of her own mental and physical strength and shows that using crutches or having a different level of mobility doesn’t limit what you can do or achieve in life.
Johnny continued: “No Barriers revolves around staying strong and keeping fit, regardless of your injuries. We adapt all the exercises to suit what level of injury someone has.
“We know there is a massive mental health aspect too. When someone suffers a stroke, spinal injury or brain injury they perceive that a lot of their life has been taken away or they can’t do as much as they previously could. No Barriers is about teaching people what they can do and creating a support network and social outlet.”Tags: