“The moment I walked in the door of the Achievement Center, I found hope, acceptance and love,” says program participant John Omps. And right then, he needed a little bit of all three. Facing a dual diagnosis of Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis (MS), John was not sure what the future might hold.
His wife encouraged him to explore the Achievement Center—a facility program to help patients slow the progression of MS and other neurological diseases, through outpatient rehabilitation and a state-licensed day program. “I was very resistant to even check it out. I was afraid I was just going to see a rather depressing preview of what my life might be like in the future,” he recalls. “Boy, was I wrong.”
Thanks to donors, what John found instead was a supportive community backed by a team of therapists, social workers and other staff dedicated to meeting the physical, spiritual and emotional needs of patients living—and thriving—with a variety of neurological conditions.
Now, John is a program regular. Participating in the day program two days a week, he takes advantage of all the Achievement Center has to offer. “What a thief MS is,” says John. “It has taken away my balance, my stride, my ability to hold things. The disease has made me a walking monologue of symptoms,” says John.
To help delay the onset of such symptoms and to stave off disease progression, the Achievement Center offers customized physical therapy and fitness classes. For example, John continues to work on assisted walking and gait training with the help of parallel bars. “Physical therapy is one of the key components of what we offer,” says Heidi Elm, day program director. “The old adage, ‘use it or lose it’ is extremely apt when talking about neurological diseases and we don’t want our participants to lose any flexibility or function if we can prevent or delay it.”
In addition to physical therapy, the Achievement Center also offers occupational and recreational therapy activities, counseling and socialization opportunities. “Our participants are really close—for some, their time spent here is the only time they are out of the house all week. Because of that sense of camaraderie, they can really motivate each other in both their therapy work and in facing day-to-day challenges,” says Heidi.
Thanks to donors, this life-changing program is accessible to even more individuals than ever before. Because of donor generosity, the Achievement Center is able to offer a sliding fee scale as well as scholarship dollars to make their services available to individuals who would otherwise not be able to afford to participate. And, according to John, the simple gift of participation is one of the greatest gifts the Achievement Center has to offer. “The strength of this program is in the collective strength of those who come—the wisdom, love and sense of belonging that is cultivated here,” says John.
Learn more and give: http://www.fairview.org/Giving/index.htm