It was a fairly last minute decision to sign my daughter Darcey up to the 2018 Mobility Clinic and jump on a plane to Adelaide. I wasn’t sure what a four year old could get out of the event and I was just hoping to see what prosthetic components would be available to her in the future. It turned out to be two days of off-the-scale positive energy and life-changing for both of us.
She saw amputees achieving amazing things, she saw amputees having a go and pushing themselves, and she was nurtured and encouraged to do the same. And she thrived. It was really the first time Darcey had met other amputees, both kids and adults, and she made friendships I’m sure will last a lifetime. The clinic staff have hearts of gold and are so passionate and eager to boost the skills of all the participants while having so much fun. As a parent I was able to absorb so much that would help me teach and guide Darcey to have a positive attitude towards physical activity and her life in general. Hearing the stories from legends like Don Elgin and younger role models like Joany Badenhorst, combined with kid’s physio expertise from Shail Maharaj and Cathy Howells was just what I needed. Darcey’s highlight was the obstacle relay. Despite a few tumbles and a face plant she persisted and finished with a cheeky grin to the roar of the other attendees.
“ As a parent I was able to absorb so much that would help me teach and guide Darcey to have a positive attitude towards physical activity and her life in general. ”
“Darcey’s going to be alright.” I’d said this to myself countless times since Darcey’s life-threatening illness as a baby and subsequent amputation two years later, but this was the first time I really believed it. Before the clinic had even finished, Darcey’s Mum and I had already decided that wherever it was being held, it would become an annual family event.
Darcey would talk about “Össur Clinic” for the rest of the year waiting impatiently for April to come around again. Darcey had just grown enough to be fitted with a Cheetah® Xplore that Össur so generously gave her at the previous Mobility Clinic and was able to do the Gold Coast obstacle course with a spring in her step and continue to build on her skills. It was great to greet familiar faces and see new ones, this time bringing the whole family along.
The Surf Clinic was a highlight for Darcey, another completely new experience for her. Being taught by experts in adaptive surfing was just amazing, they were able to boost Darcey’s confidence so much.
And to her joy, we got to attend the first Mobility Clinic on the Snow this year. Gravity really is a great equaliser. Darcey was already a keen skier but it was wonderful being taught the tricks of adaptive snow sports and getting down the slopes as fast as the able-bodied skiers.
Each Clinic we’ve been on has meant so much to us all. I find it heartening that a large manufacturer in the medical field like Össur can show so much humanity through caring about their clients. Darcey’s attendance medals from each Clinic hang proudly on her bedroom wall. She has set herself a goal of doing the obstacle course backwards in 2020. I can’t wait to watch.