Saturday 16 December 2017

Mobility machine offers hope for Jamie

Anita Guidera

A LITTLE boy's mobility is about to be transformed thanks to the new muscle-building machine that was delivered to his home last week.

Jamie Lafferty (2) was born with spina bifida, a birth defect that affects the spinal cord and causes physical and mobility difficulties.

But his parents, Stephen and Caroline, are hopeful the first publicly owned Giger MD machine in Ireland, which has just arrived at their home in Bruckless, Co Donegal, will help build his leg muscles and keep him out of a wheelchair.

The Swiss-designed exercise machine, costing about €15,000, is one of seven that were imported into Ireland last week, thanks to the Axa/Aon Annual Across Ireland motorcycle run.

The bikers donated last year's proceeds to Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Ireland.

Giger MD therapy is offering hope to hundreds of children such as Jamie by improving co-ordinated movement of arms and legs.

And within hours of using the machine, Jamie, who has been using a walker to move around, was using his left leg for the first time.

"It was like Christmas all over. Jamie loves it. He wants to be on it all the time," Caroline told the Irish Independent.

She explained that Jamie's progress on the recommended 20-minute workout is being recorded on a computer attached to the machine and monitored by the Swiss designers, who made adjustments to the routine accordingly.

"It takes about six weeks to see whether there is any improvement. He is moving in this machine like I've never seen him move, so the way we see it is that it is giving us the opportunity for hope," she said.

Three 20-minute sessions weekly on the Giger, with 30,000 muscle movements per session, will provide Jamie with more therapy than a physiotherapist could give in a lifetime.

Last year, 95 children were born with spina bifida in Ireland. Four of the recently delivered machines will be placed in centres around Ireland that aid children with spina bifida. The remaining three will be based in private homes, and moved every six months.

A Swiss specialist will be in Bewley's Hotel Dublin Airport tomorrow to offer free training to parents in the use of the Giger MD.

Irish Independent

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