Janet Tuck is paraplegic. In 2007 she was diagnosed with Arachnoiditis, a rare and progressive inflammatory disorder that attacks the central nervous system and which resulted in her losing the use of her legs in 2011 at the age of 50.
Over the last 10 years the condition has put Jan through a huge ordeal, not only has she had to cope with lengthy bouts of severe of pain and unanswered questions whilst doctors tried to identify her condition, but has also faced a great deal of uncertainty, following the 5 spinal operations she has endured. However, despite the dark times she has refused to give up and continues to battle to improve her quality of life through exercise – never letting her paralysis get in the way.
Just 6 months after the last operation to try (unsuccessfully) to regain movement in her legs, Jan lost her mum suddenly to cancer, yet another shattering blow but one she battled through with the loving support of her family. To try and maintain a level of normality Jan insisted she would continue to go to work full time and 5 years later has rarely missed a day in the office! Her employers at Standard Bank have been tremendously supportive throughout and she is immensely grateful to them; in her words “I feel normal and challenged working at my desk, the support from both my colleagues and management at Standard Bank has enabled me to recover my self-esteem and worth”
Since her illness life has changed considerably for both Jan and her husband Brian. Over a period of time they have adapted their home to cope with the day to day challenges and are now enjoying life to the full with an active social life, even travelling is back on the agenda!
Brian and Jan have been married since 1998 and he is an extremely dedicated and supportive husband, he explains “Jan never ceases to amaze me in her outlook on life and I love her unconditionally!”
Jan has been coming to Jersey Cheshire Home every week for the last few years, to swim in the pool and use the gym equipment to help aid her mobility. Phil Curtis, a member of the physio team at JCH works with Jan to build her core strength and has been in her words “fantastically supportive to me” she goes onto say “Phil and Brian play good cop bad cop every week, pushing me to achieve pretty much anything I (they) set my mind to! Jersey Cheshire Home is a fantastic facility for those dealing with challenges of varying degrees of disability. I swim here every week and love my training sessions in the gym – their facilities are great. But it’s much more than that, the staff and residents inspire me, it’s such a happy environment, you can hear laughter ringing through the hallways on every visit, a number of them going out of their way to shout words of encouragement as I ‘walk’ down the hallways in my Parapodium.”
The Dynamic Parapodium is the device that has given Jan back an element of freedom by enabling her to walk; providing the opportunity for rehabilitation in an upright position. It is designed for people with lower extremity paralysis, infantile cerebral palsy or Spina bifida, and is also used by MS patients or those suffering with head injuries.
By leaning from side to side, using their core strength and pulling with their arms on the hand grips, wheelchair bound individuals can use the Parapodium to safely walk forward, backward and even turn on flat surfaces.
This specialized piece of equipment not only offers those with limited mobility the freedom to move, but also allows them to experience the sensation of walking and exercise at the same time. It can help to reduce muscle spasms, restore normalisation of cardiovascular and respiratory system problems, and prevent the disintegration of bone matter, providing the user with a gait sensation not found in static standers or wheeled walking aide devices.
The Dynamic Parapodium is part of a range of equipment available at Jersey Cheshire Home that enables those with disabilities (both resident and non-resident) to improve their mobility and core strength. If you would like to get in touch with JCH about utilizing their facilities and specialist equipment then please contact the Physiotherapy team on 285858 ext. 3
To show her gratitude to all those who have supported her, Jan wants to give back by raising funds and awareness for her chosen charities. In addition she wants to use her upcoming challenge as an opportunity to show what can be achieved with a good dose of determination and a supportive network of friends and family, despite suffering with a debilitating condition.
She will be taking on her own paraplegic mini-triathlon on 2nd & 3rd September 2016 – swimming a mile, cycling a mile and walking a mile, which in total is likely to take her 5-6hrs to complete!
Jan hopes to raise at least £5000 for Jersey Cheshire Home and Cancer Research UK, Jersey and is appealing for public donations to help drive her to complete this gruelling challenge. People are invited to come down to cheer Jan on at FB Fields on Saturday 3rd September and can even ‘Walk A Mile in Her Shoes’ – taking part in the challenge with her by walking sections of her mile in a Parapodium and getting friends, family and colleagues to sponsor their efforts. Donations to Jan’s challenge can be made online at https://race-nation.com/sponsor/e/53518
See Jan’s determination for yourself in this video of her first training session in the Parapodium at FB Fields a couple of weeks back! https://www.facebook.com/JerseyCheshireHome/posts/988921877895103
To find out more about the event and how you can get involved please contact Sarah at Jersey Cheshire Home on 285858 ext.5 or go to www.jerseycheshirehome.je/events