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My Work with Allison 

 

The event that brought me to register to be a member of the JCC in West Orange, and that led to my meeting Allison was a horrible car accident.  I had been getting something from the trunk of my parked car when a speeding car swerved into the line of parked cars along the narrow street and smashed my body between two cars.  My legs were crushed. 

After a long hospital stay and intensive rehabilitation, I ended up with an amputated left leg and a right leg with severe nerve and muscle damage after the bones, broken in eight places, were patched together.  My life was confined to a wheelchair for many months.  I finally progressed to learning how to use a rudimentary prosthetic leg and I was able to walk, though very slowly and awkwardly with the aid of a walker.  My body bent forward over the walker, I moved like an old man.  I could go up and down stairs only with a stair lifter.  I thought this was it, this would be it for the rest of my life.  I gave up hope of ever walking without a walker.  I tried to persuade myself I was happy to be walking with a walker, that at least I was not confined to a wheelchair.  I dared not hope for more. 

My wife, however, dared to hope.  After many arguments with me, my wife succeeded in persuading me to get personal training at the JCC.  There I met Allison, my personal trainer.

At first, Allison recommended I exercise with the stationary bike and work on some strength training equipment to make my muscles stronger.  A few months later, Allison advised me I had become strong enough to move up from the walker to walking with two forearm crutches, which would provide increased mobility and flexibility of movement.  I followed her advice.  I could feel my body had become much stronger and I was able to do things that were unthinkable before I began work with Allison.  Allison also advised me to exercise with the arc trainer and the stair stepper to increase my endurance.  The first time I tried the arc trainer, I could do it only for 5 minutes.  She continued to urge me to do it longer and longer.  Now I can do it for 25 minutes.  

One day Allison said, "Give me one crutch and walk with only one."  I replied, "No, I can't."  "Why?" she asked.  I said, "It's dangerous," and she said "It's not a good reason to refuse."  She would not take no for an answer.  I had no choice but to follow her order. The first time with only one crutch I walked 10 yards, but the distance increased week by week.  Allison kept pushing me and I was getting stronger. 

The same thing happened again in a few months. "Mr. Kim, give me both crutches and walk without crutches." "No, I can't."  "Why?" "I am scared." "It's not a proper reason.  Just try it.  I know you can do it."

That first day without crutches I walked about 30 or 40 yards. Everybody in the gym applauded to see me walking without crutches.

Today I walked 8 laps (half a mile) of the indoor track without a pause, without crutches.

According to Allison's advice I also recently ordered an upgraded prosthesis that will allow me to walk on hilly terrain, hike, and play golf.  Now I allow myself to dream of life without crutches, walking 4 miles at a stretch, and enjoying golf in the very near future.

I could not have gotten to this point without Allison constantly pushing me to work harder even when I thought I could not, to push myself even beyond my own hopes.  I know my dream will come true with Allison.  I will always be thankful to her for giving me this guidance.

 

H. Kim

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