What is your favorite hobby? What if you could not participate, only watch, that hobby for almost two years? How amazing would it be to once again be able to participate in your hobby?
One and a half years ago, Danielle suffered a spinal cord injury after a medical procedure. She also now has limited use of her left leg. Prior to the injury, Danielle and her husband participated in rock climbing. For most people, this would be the end of their climbing career. For Danielle, it was just a rest period.
During this rest period, Danielle moved on with her life, raising a family and being crowned as the reigning Ms. Wheelchair Washington.
But she still missed climbing.
She approached the nonprofit Courageous Kids Climbing as she knew the organization would soon be making its annual visit to Central Washington University (CWU) in Ellensburg, Washington. Prior to her injury, she had seen her brother and sister, who have special needs, participate in the free climbing event for people with special needs, physical or developmental. Event coordinator Jeff Riechmann informed her that she was more than welcome to come out and climb with the other courageous climbers.
The day of the event, Riechmann, working with the recreation staff at CWU, fitted her with a Binder-Lift. The Binder-Lift is a lifting device that was designed to assist emergency medical personnel with lifting patients who might be overweight or in an awkward position, reducing the risk of injury to the medical team.
Riechmann of Courageous Kids Climbing pointed out, “We have been using Binder-Lifts for several years now at our events. It allows us to take a climber with physical challenges and share the climbing experience with them.”
The Binder-Lift is a nylon wrap that is secured around the torso of a patient. The exterior of the wrap has several handles which allow several people to safely lift a patient, once the patient is secured in the Binder-Lift.
Riechmann added, “With Danielle, we placed her in the Binder-Lift and with the support of the coaching staff, walked her to the climbing area. Once at the climbing wall, Danielle then started to climb while three members of the coaching staff supported her by lifting up on the handles on the Binder-Lift.”
“With out the Binder-Lift, Danielle would never have gotten off of the ground.”
After Danielle climbed horizontally across the wall with the help of the coaching staff, she was placed in a regular climbing harness and was able to climb the walls of the climbing facility.
“The Binder-Lift has allowed us on numerous occasions to share the climbing experience with those individuals who have physical challenges, with no risk to the climber or the coaches. When Courageous Kids Climbing arrives at one of our events, the Binder-Lift is always one of the first items removed from our equipment cache. I would definitely encourage physical and occupational therapists to consider adding a Binder-Lift to their tool box,” said Riechmann.
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