Morning Express’ sports correspondent Brian McFayden is passionate about all things sports and fitness, so it's only natural that Brian selected NextStep Fitness as his charity for #GivingExpress.
NextStep Fitness in Lawndale, California, is a non-profit organization that founder Janne Kouri says provides a ‘progressive, state-of-the art, community based fitness, health, and wellness facility for people that are living with paralysis.’
NextStep Fitness utilizes a method of rehabilitation therapy called locomotor training. Locomotor training uses a treadmill and suspends a person above it. Then, therapists move the person’s legs in a stepping and walking motion, trying to retrain the spinal cord how to walk again.
"A lot of people do regain function. Some people get to walking again…the health benefits of locomotor training are just unbelievable," says Kouri.
Frank Lin has been a client of NextStep Fitness since he became paralyzed from a mountain biking accident in December 2014. He is at the facility five days a week and is determined to walk again.
“The thought of never walking again never really crossed my mind. First thought was, I’m going to get back at this, and I will ride again.”
Frank works out on a variety of machines including the locomotor training and credits the therapists and trainers with helping him in his recovery.
“Everyone was pretty warm and welcoming. It was quite an experience because they recognized that my body recognized the movement that it needed to be moved in order to get back into walking and cycling,” says Frank.
But running a facility like NextStep Fitness isn’t cheap. They make up the difference in operating costs through fundraising.
“We operate at a huge loss because we’re trying to provide our services at an affordable cost," Kouri says.