"This allows people to go to a fitness centre where everybody else is working out. You can go and exercise next to your friend or family member. You can go when you want," said Miller.
Miller co-founded the not-for-profit society in 1987, a few years after life-saving surgery left her with paraplegia. A former nurse, she felt more could be done for people with spinal injuries and has spent the last 25 years working to create opportunities for people to maintain their quality of life.
In 1991, the society purchased western Canada's first FES system, which was donated to the Steadward Centre. In total, the Spinal Cord Injury Treatment Centre (Northern Alberta) Society has provided about $425,000 for staff support and equipment that help people with spinal injuries.
"We can do things together as a family"
One of those people is Shauna Paisley Cooper. The Stony Plain resident was an athlete and outdoor enthusiast until a mountain-biking accident four years ago upended her life.
"I was quite an avid mountain biker. It wasn't a trail that was above my level of competence or anything," recalled Paisley Cooper, who, while trying to avoid a jump, ended up going over her handlebars and landing on her head, breaking her neck in the process.
The accident left her with C6 quadriplegiaparalyzed from the chest down with limited movement in her arms. It also caused a major life upheaval for the former stay-at-home mom, whose aunt moved in with the family in a new home to help care for their two twin toddlers and a live-in caregiver.
FES has helped Paisley Cooper stay healthy and active.
"It's been good. The electrical stimulation is fascinating, that it does make my legs move. It's increased my circulation so I don't have to wear compression socks, and I've seen increased tone in my quadricep muscles," she said. "It feels good to be able to ride a bike again."
Being active in an inclusive envi
|Contact: Bryan Alary|
University of Alberta