Saturday, August 12, 2017

The new swimming pool is changing lives

I’ve always known Lakeside was a special place for people with limited mobility, especially for the elderly. An equipped van brings residents here from North Shore Retirement immediately outside the gates (although many walk in), there are many ramps, special wellness seminars, and most importantly, events to keep the mind and body active.  I think I’ve seen more walkers, wheelchairs and special scooters here in Lakekside than anyplace in my life. I’ve been watching Marky for decades maneuver the streets.

Marky has cerebral palsy (CP), a physical disability that affects movement, muscle tone and posture. Despite the CP, he is very independent and while at Lakeside he lives in a wing of his parents’ cottage and at home in independent living. His special scooter makes him mobile and he’s made many friends over the years. When a pool and wellness center was announced, like all of us, his family watched with curiosity,
“I didn’t have a clear picture of how it would be,” his mom Becky Donithan said “I was unsure if we would have enough room or if it would be too crowded. But when I first saw it, it was incredible. I knew it would be great for our family.
With the ADA-approved lift-chair and the entry ramp for his scooter, Marky is granted access to an activity like he never was before. At his IDLA home, Marky exercises on a treadmill for about 10 minutes each day, but swimming works a whole extra set of muscles.

“He can’t walk on land, but he can walk in water,” she said. “It was such a special moment for Marky and our family when he swam in Lakeside for the first time. It’s given him the opportunity to get in the pool and have the freedom to feel and look like everyone else.”

Marky’s whole family was in tow for his first day at the pool. Parents, grandparents, siblings and cousins gathered to swim as a family. He had only ever been swimming a few times before in his life, but he has become significantly better at it with each visit to the pool this summer.

“He would live here all year if he could,” Donithan said. “This place is a little piece of heaven for him because he can be himself and it is just so safe and accessible, especially now with the pool.”
From the Lakeside Blog

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