|Jake working with Marie-Line|
CAMP JAKE / JULY 2012 :: Meet Marie-Line, one of the lovely young ladies from St. Vincent's. She is a thoughtful, observant and very creative girl whose smile lit up Camp Jake every day. Like any typical 18-year-old, she enjoys hanging out with other girls her age and storytelling. She is a pleasure to be around and is loved by many at St. Vincent's and The Red Thread.
Marie-Line was born with congenital birth defects including a right club foot and left leg which had to be amputated beneath the knee. Marie-Line now wears a prosthesis on her left leg and walks with the aid of a pair of crutches.
|From left: Gregory, one of our translators, Marie-Line and Jake|
To our knowledge, no one had ever formally taught Marie-Line how to use her prosthetic. Jake McCrowell—a Physician's for Peace physical therapist who joined us as a counselor for the week—had the opportunity to work with her on multiple occasions during camp, a blessing for both patient and physical therapist. With the help of Gregory and his translation skills, Jake was able to build a solid rapport with Marie-Line, establishing a level of trust before asking her to perform progressively more difficult exercises. His strategies were sound:
- begin with easier exercises that can build up over time and become more challenging
- build the patient's confidence through earlier successes, helping to keep them from getting discouraged later
- practice the "90 percent rule" - help the patient succeed 90% of the time
|Learning new mobility skills|
- to give her tools to help her become more independent
- to teach her to walk more functionally
- to build her strength, balance and endurance so she can use the least restrictive assistance device to navigate her environment more safely and quickly
- to reduce the likelihood of shoulder and back problems, prevent scoliosis and further injury from long-term crutch use
During their many sessions, Jake was able to build a personalized exercise program for Marie-Line to practice on her own following camp. Marie-Line was receptive to his suggestions and worked very hard during the sessions, often coming away exhausted, but proud of her accomplishments. She left camp having learned:
- not to fear putting pressure on her prosthetic leg, a step closer to walking freely
- to balance on the leg so she could take a normal step
- to use a single crutch instead of two, all great steps toward a more independent life.
We dream of the day when her club foot can be surgically fixed and when she walks with a cane instead of a crutch. With your continued support of our programs at St. Vincent's, we hope to one day share with you that these dreams have become reality for this radiant young woman.