Connect With Ben's Story
My name is Ben, I am 28 years old and I was born with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy. I have always had an extremely supportive family who has pushed me to approach challenges with confidence, a willingness to try, and a smile! Their support in combination with my own stubbornness (they say determination, ha, ha!) has led to me accomplishing many things that I am very proud of. These accomplishments include playing hockey all over North America, co-owning a video production company, having an amazing day job with the team at MindFuel, a university diploma and degree, and many more. IMPROVEMENTS When I joined Synaptic, I was in a very frustrated state and looking for answers to my questions and solutions to the problems that I had been facing. Some of these problems included tightness, muscle soreness, becoming fatigued easily, and reduced range in areas that used to be quite strong. The first person that I met at Synaptic was Bailey and I am extremely grateful for her. Bailey helped me build a plan to solve these concerns and said we would have fun along the way, and we sure have! The whole team is so much fun, coming in for sessions every week is something that I always look forward to! I already see so many benefits from the things that I do at Synaptic in my daily activities even if I miss home workouts sometimes (sorry Bailey, ha, ha!) and I can’t wait to see the positive impact it has on my play when hockey starts up again. FAVOURITE PART OF SYNAPTIC My favourite part of Synaptic is definitely working with the team, yay exercise! We have so much fun doing different things every week it is such a fun and energetic group! Ben's advice for other people going through something similar. Perseverance is key, you can find the answers that you are looking for if you keep asking questions. Personally, I would recommend asking Bailey, Jill or anyone on the Synaptic team, they’re full of great information :).
Connect With Jim's Story
I was raised on a ranch west of Cochrane where my parents still reside. I grew up riding horses, hiking through the hills, and generally being a wild & free young man! I was born into a rodeo family so I started out riding sheep, graduated to steers, and then onto saddle bronc as well as steer wrestling. My brother and I were the third generation to compete at the Calgary stampede. I also played hockey and baseball among other sports and was generally a very athletic and active person. In the early 2000s, I started experiencing some muscle fatigue and weakness, making it hard to do manual labour anymore. So I got my class one driver's license and began driving a log truck for the next few years until I couldn't do that anymore either. In the meantime in 2006 I was diagnosed with primary progressive MS. Around 2012 I was also diagnosed with Lyme disease, but if I have that and not MS or I have them both is a discussion for another time! After my MS diagnosis, my world obviously changed forever. I still haven't totally come to grips with it and maybe I never will, part of me hopes that I never do. I have always intensely valued my independence so that has been the hardest adjustment of all of this for sure. In 2013 I married my wife Brett and in 2014 we welcomed our son Ransom, they both keep me on my toes lol! We currently operate a 200-head cow calf operation and a 30-head horse operation in Pollockville Alberta. I also have a rodeo breeding stock operation and I supply bucking horses to rodeos throughout Alberta and Saskatchewan. IMPROVEMENTS Since coming to Synaptic some improvements I've noticed have been in my strength and my stamina, as well as my overall sense of well-being. FAVOURITE PART OF SYNAPTIC My favourite part of Synaptic is that I have a sense of purpose when I go there. I feel like the people are there to help me improve, not just help me ease into oblivion. I don't feel self-conscious when I'm there, I feel encouraged, helped, and safe. It's one day, if not the day, of the week that I look forward to most. ADVICE FOR OTHERS My advice to anybody that's going through something similar is to not give up, right or wrong don't take it with dignity because it won't take you with any! Research, don't just take what a medical professional tells you at face value and give up. Always question, there is always somebody that will help you. You must be your own advocate! Keep putting one foot in front of the other, literally or figuratively whichever one you can do!
Connect With John's Story
I've had early Parkinson's for over 18 years. I cannot do the exercises or full-on activities that I used to do. It has been a slow-moving process but it is getting better. IMPROVEMENTS My sessions at Synaptic have helped improve my walking and balance. I enjoy the stretching at the beginning of my sessions. My future goals are to improve my balance, walking, and my quality of life. FAVOURITE PART OF SYNAPTIC My favourite part about Synaptic is the people. They are fantastic people, from the administration to the therapists. I find the stretching fantastic. I like the large equipment and big location as most facilities aren’t that big. I think it is necessary for balance and exercise. ADVICE FOR OTHERS You have to keep working on your balance and walking. Exercise in conjunction with the medication helps.
Connect With Evie's Story
Evie has been challenging the odds since her early arrival at 26+1 weeks, weighing 430 grams. As a result of this and a complex 7-month hospital stay, her main diagnosis is Cerebral Palsy largely affecting her left side. Many milestones were late to be reached however, since turning two, starting preschool, GRIT, and beginning Synaptic, improvements have been life-changing! IMPROVEMENTS She had difficulties with independent walking, uneven surfaces, and steps. She walked into Synaptic in the fall of 2021 using a Crocodile Walker and since December 2021, it remains in the basement collecting dust! She has worked hard to get this far and we couldn't be more proud of her. Her main goal continues to be able to play with her friends and other children, largely navigating various playgrounds. She wants to jump, run and climb stairs just like everyone else. FAVOURITE PART OF SYNAPTIC She likes the bubbles, walking the ramps and 'fun lights' [BlazePods]. Keeping her engaged and appropriately challenged is always an important part of the session. ADVICE TO OTHERS (Evie's Mom) As Evie's mom, I've watched her work hard to do many things that people take for granted. Although she may continue to face challenges throughout her life, I hope her perseverance and joy for the little things stay with her.
Connect With Don's Story
On April 22, 2017 while enjoying a weekend at his RV property in Montana with his wife Anita, Don suffered a catastrophic brain hemorrhage at the age of 59 as a result of an AVM (arteriovenous malformation). Prior to Don’s stroke, he lived a very active life and enjoyed many outdoor activities. He loved to spend time in the mountains with his horses Badger and Toledo. Golf, fly fishing, hunting, hiking, and downhill skiing were also many of his favorite things to do. After 10 days in ICU at the Harbourview Hospital in Seattle Don was air ambulanced to the Foothills Hospital where he experienced many surgeries and setbacks. As the brain hemorrhage was in the cerebellum Don’s speech, swallowing and balance were greatly affected. Don spent 9 months in hospital (4 of those on Unit 58) and was discharged on January 19, 2018. Since that time Don has attended various rehabilitation programs in Calgary. He began attending therapy twice a week at Synaptic in September 2020 and is just completing the 14-week PONs program. Although life is very different for Don, he continues to embrace life and enjoys his scooter rides in Fish Creek Park and spending time with his loving family. IMPROVEMENTS There has been tremendous improvement in his balance and gait and Don looks forward to his time at Synaptic. FAVOURITE PART OF SYNAPTIC Don is continuously challenged by all the therapists and enjoys their positive and encouraging attitudes. He has also seen many of the other practitioners available in the clinic such as the speech pathologist, massage therapist, and nutritionist. It is such a benefit that Synaptic offers so many services under one roof.Don looks forward to continuing his therapy at Synaptic after the completion of the PONs program.
Connect With Catherine's Story
Spinal Cord Injury
On July 13th 2020, I was in a motor vehicle accident with my daughters and my youngest sister as passengers. We were headed to my mother in laws acreage in Hudson Bay Saskatchewan. I made it just past Alsask before I caught the edge of the highway, overcorrected my steering, and flipped the vehicle across the highway. My daughters and sister sustained bruises and emotional trauma and I was diagnosed with a C4-C5 incomplete spinal cord injury; my left arm was broken in four places, and I severed my vertebral artery. I was told that my chances of walking were very slim because my injury was so high on my spinal cord. At the time I had no movement from my chest down and I could only lift my right arm a few inches off the hospital bed. It wasn't until I got back home after 6 months in hospital that I realized how much my condition would affect my life. I couldn't be the Mom I had dreamed about being anymore. I was confined to my wheelchair most of the time. I could not help my girls zip up their coats, grab them a snack or tickle them anymore and most of the time I was so exhausted from medication that I would sleep all day. I could not do anything independently, comb my hair, get dressed, cook, do any of my hobbies. I was depressed because I didn't know how it would get any better. It was decided that Synaptic was the only place where I would be going to therapy once I returned home. My fiancée said he didn't care what it was going to take the said that is where I'm going. And I am so glad that it is. I have an extremely supportive family; they have sacrificed so much to help me get where I am today and to be able to attend rehab full time. IMPROVEMENTS Since I started at Synaptic, I am walking with a walker, I am cooking, doing my makeup, and brushing my hair, camping, playing with my girls on the floor, and tickling them every chance I get. I have energy. I have regained some function of my left arm and my legs get stronger every week. They have helped me accomplish so much and there is still so much more to achieve. The sky is the limit, I would like to run one day, I want to get back to the gym, I want to bike ride again and one day walk down the aisle unassisted. FAVOURITE PART ABOUT SYNAPTIC My favourite part about Synaptic is that when I walk in it feels like I am with family. Everyone there is so encouraging and supportive. Even on a bad day when I don't feel like I can, it is a safe place to have those real emotions. There has been support for everything I have needed, and I trust everyone there. Synaptic has encouraged me to accomplish things that I didn't even know I was capable of. I am so grateful to everyone that works there, they have given me the most amazing gift of being able to be the Mom I want to be for my kids. ADVICE TO OTHERS I want people in similar situations to know that a positive attitude will take you a very long way. Life is what you make it, so choose to live a good life every day.
Connect With Bri's Story
Life pre-injury was very normal - I grew up in Calgary with my mom, dad, and brother Declan. I liked to camp, paint, and hang out with my friends. I played rec hockey for 6 years and softball for 1 season until covid shut it down. I was in a severe car crash on Highway 2 on my way to The Saskatoon Farm with my friends. I had many broken bones and an injured carotid artery which caused a massive right MCA stroke that left me paralyzed on my left side. I was hospitalized for over 2 months and couldn't weight bear on my feet for 7 weeks. I went through several surgeries to allow for swelling in my brain and to repair my left arm. I have had to learn how to use my body again in the last year. I struggle with all these changes, time management, and fatigue. IMPROVEMENTS I have gained so much strength. I have gotten so much faster at walking since I started at Synaptic. I started out only feeling comfortable using my wheelchair and now I've used it twice since I started.My future goal is to be able to use my left arm and hand again. I would love to go hiking and play hockey again. I would love to not need my AFO. FAVOURITE PART OF SYNAPTIC My favorite part about Synaptic is all the encouragement and hope that I receive through other people in the clinic and my therapists. It's fun to use the equipment that they didn't have at the hospital. Seeing other clients working on their recovery gives me hope. I want to be able to inspire others in my recovery. I want others to know you should listen to your body, rest when you are fatigued and be patient with yourself.
"Synaptic is one awesome place if you have issues which require improvement with stroke rehab. I've become stronger, healthier, I'm walking better, and it's good for my mental health. It's a great place, the talent of the therapists and the equipment that they have can make a world of difference to you if you are in need of support."