What is it about?

The rollercoaster adventures of parenting three kids, dealing with disability and mental health - and discussing disability discrimination and how to tackle it.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Hart Walker

How is this for a story!

Boo Boo was recently approved to receive a Hart Walker. This is an amazing piece of kit. At first view, it looks like some torture rack from the days of the Inquisition. But it's actually an ingenious machine that teaches kids how to walk the way you and I take for granted. In that sense it's a gait trainer, once strapped in you have to walk by moving your knees up and down and keep your legs apart. No tip toeing, no knee knocking and no skateboarding like on the Kaye walker. You see, with the Kaye walker you use your hands to move the walker forwards, and as long as your legs support you and keep you upright, you walk. But many kids end up using their legs to push off in any sort of way, there is no need to do the normal walking movement. Well, the Hart Walker is designed to make you do that. This way, the brain has to work out that walking comes from the legs and not the arms. And your legs build up muscle memory of what walking means.

We were very lucky that Boo Boo was approved for the scheme. I was expecting to either spend many months on a waiting list, or pay for it ourselves, yet again. But we got even luckier - the Australian Lions Children’s Mobility Foundation agreed to fund a Hart Walker for our Boo Boo.

She was very exited to get this - and you should have seen her face when she realised she had her arms free with this walker, and all movement had to come from her legs...

So, this is the first piece of kit ever - yes, ever, for both our kids - that we did not cover ourselves or within our extended family.

While for us this is amazing in itself, just wait until you hear who did pay for the walker: Vic did!


This on the left is Vic. Yes, he paid for the walker. And no, we had never met Vic before.

Vic is an 87 year old retiree. Who decided to donate some money to the Australian Lions Children’s Mobility Foundation so that a child he had never met before got a chance to learn to walk.

Vic is at an age where, in my view, he is totally justified to think about himself and his own health only. Yet here he is, unselfishly donating money to help a total stranger. What a man eh?! He is an inspiration!

Vic might have donated money to a stranger. But he's no longer a stranger to us.


Glee said...

Excellent Heike. Onya Vic. Go Boo!


fabig said...

Wat een mooie verhaal, en wat een prachtige man. Je ziet maar weer, dat er ook nog lieve mensen op de wereled zijn, die zich om andere zonder enige bijbedoelingen bemoeen. En Boo Boo zit er zo gelukkig uit!!!!

Dianne said...

Go Vic!! That's so great. The generosity of strangers is a wonderful thing. And Boo Boo looks so happy in the walker! Happy walking Boo Boo!!

Anonymous said...

Heroes still exist! And what a major event for Boo Boo - she looks so happy!

xo - Monique

Alison said...

Good on you Vic!

Susan, Mum to Molly said...


I am very impressed (and quite jealous) at how quickly you manage to get great equipment happening for your gorgeous girl...

Do you know how long ago you first started the process for the Hart walker? We don't seem to be able to even get an appointment for an assessment with them...

Happy Walking Boo Boo!

Cine said...

Masjoefel ziet er geweldig uit!!! Weer een extra ding om mee te sleuren naar pré-school. Dat wordt vijf minuten vroeger opstaan ;-)...
Het ziet inieder geval er een effectief ding uit.

Yvonne said...

Love the pictures and the story! My son is about to get, it was just ordered FINALLY, a Kidwalk walker, it's very similar. I love the post above of the things you can do...so sweet and wonderful!!!! Congratulations on the new walker!