Thursday 2nd February 2023 will be a memorable day for me. I was invited to Wolfson Neurorehabilitation Centre at Queen Mary’s Hospital in London, and I had the huge pleasure of meeting Georgie Hennah, a former patient of Wolfson.
Georgie shared her inspirational story of how she survived an unexpected stroke at the age of 22! From a healthy and active Geography graduate working in the tourism industry with plans to travel, Georgie’s world was turned upside-down when she suffered a stroke which consequently paralysed her left-hand side.
Fast forward three years and Georgie is not only thriving in her own life, but dedicating time and energy to help others. Her story will no doubt inspire you as it did me, so keep reading to hear about her road to recovery and how she’s giving back to Wolfson Rehab Centre, helping current and future patients.
Georgie’s Road to Recovery
In the summer of 2020 Georgie spent nine weeks at Wolfson Neurorehabilitation Centre where she re-learnt to walk and started to regain movement in her left-hand side. A jam-packed physiotherapy schedule, delivered by dedicated and knowledgeable staff, helped Georgie make huge improvements in her recovery. She slowly regained physical capabilities and independence, while building confidence and motivation every day. Although at the end of her stay she was still affected by plasticity and foot drop on her left-hand side, Georgie was independently walking with the help of walking sticks and a foot support.
Following her discharge from Wolfson, Georgie was understandably scared and apprehensive of the road ahead. She knew she would face many physical and mental challenges, and these included things like rehabbing at home on her own, leaving the house, going out with friends, and getting back to work. The things you and I take for granted were now huge challenges for Georgie, which took careful consideration and planning.
However, these hurdles didn’t stop Georgie tackling everything head-on with a positive, can-do attitude. She persisted with rehab, challenged her comfort zone, embraced a new way of movement, learnt new sports, and grew a huge amount of mental strength. She was determined to turn her traumatic experience into something positive.
So, What Did She Do?
Georgie qualified as a Life Coach so she can help other people living with neurological conditions overcome their mental barriers. With a little help from technology, she’s helping people all over the world live their life to the fullest and embrace their condition. If you’re reading this and think Georgie can help you or someone you know, be sure to follow her journey and connect with her on Instagram (@georgies_journ3y) – she’ll be thrilled to hear from you!
Not only this (yes there’s more), Georgie and her family have raised a whopping £15,229.18 for St. George’s Hospital Charity. This funded the purchase of a CardioWall® for Wolfson Neurorehabilitation Centre which was unveiled by Georgie in front of all the staff and current patients. The CardioWall is a piece of exercise equipment (in disguise) on which the user plays various games; challenging balance, flexibility, strength, hand-eye coordination, reaction speed, and concentration. A score is awarded for each effort which motivates repeat play and encourages healthy competition. Everyone was so excited to play the CardioWall for the first time and it was amazing to see so many smiling and eager faces. There were already some impressive scores posted on the leaderboard!
How will the CardioWall Help?
The CardioWall is going to be hugely beneficial in helping staff deliver more fun, engaging and diverse rehabilitation for current and future patients. With its accessibility and versatility, all patients will play the CardioWall which will simultaneously challenge their physical and cognitive abilities. Dual-tasking and gamification are powerful tools which will stimulate patients in a way they haven’t been before. I have no doubt the CardioWall will improve patient rehabilitation outcome and experience, which ultimately, is what the CardioWall is all about – fun, rewarding, and effective exercise.
That is only possible, though, if the staff share it with the patients… judging by the competitiveness of the staff while I was there, I think they’ll be hogging the CardioWall and trying to beat each other’s scores!
We’ll Be Back
I’ll be staying in touch with the team at Wolfson to hear how patients are getting on with the CardioWall, so keep your eyes peeled for more patient stories, feedback, and news about the impact of the CardioWall on neurorehabilitation.
My thanks to Claire Hill-Cottingham at Wolfson for the invitation to Georgie’s talk and unveiling of the CardioWall. And of course, a huge applause to Georgie and her family for all the work they’ve done so far!
By Jack Stenner