Nathan Cruse, a third-year doctoral student in the School of Occupational Therapy, was part of a volunteer team organized by Achilles International to guide a blind runner through the 26.2 mile New York City Marathon this past Sunday. Cruse signed up for this duty back in May and was chosen to be one of three individuals to guide runner Theresa Khayyam. In the months leading up to the marathon, he guided Khayyam in training runs once or twice a week, working on running in unpredictable weather and on unfamiliar courses to increase her confidence in her abilities and her faith in her guides.
As an avid runner, it has always been a dream of Cruse’s to run in the New York City Marathon. “I love the feeling of completing a race, knowing that all the sweat and pain of training has truly paid off,” said Cruse. He added, “I have always imagined what it would feel like to cross the finish line of the New York City Marathon. Little did I know that taking a back seat and standing alongside another runner while she completed the race would be an even greater experience.”
Occupational and physical therapy students took their classroom learning outside during a community service project on Tuesday. During Wash and Roll, dozens of wheelchair users had their power chairs cleaned and serviced free-of-charge by students and faculty from Belmont’s Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy programs and local equipment dealers.
“This collaboration of physical therapy and occupational therapy was to get students involved in community service with an underserved population. Because once they get a wheelchair from insurance, they can get serviced once a year, but it is difficult to find place to get it done,” said Occupational Therapy Assistant Professor Teresa Plummer. “No one just cleans and services chairs, so families of people with medical disability have to do it on their own.”
The service is so rare that Barbara Pierce drove her husband, Marion, 90 miles from Winchester, Tenn. to Belmont’s campus to have his five-year-old wheelchair evaluated and cleaned.
Belmont University will host a “Wash & Roll” event for wheelchair users on Tuesday, October 22, 2014 from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Attendees can bring their wheelchairs to be cleaned and serviced free-of-charge by students and faculty from Belmont’s doctoral programs in physical therapy and occupational therapy, and local equipment dealers. In addition, there will be opportunity to use a power wheelchair test track, listen to live music, and enjoy offerings from local food trucks. The event will occur on the courtyard between Belmont’s McWhorter Hall and the Curb Events Center.
Wash & Roll is sponsored by two leading providers of wheelchairs and mobility devices, Permobil and Numotion, as well as the Tennessee Chapter of the National Spinal Cord Injury Association and the Schools of Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy at Belmont University.
Those are the words of Jennifer Adams, Ms. Wheelchair America 2014, who will speak on the “Inclusion Revolution” at Belmont University on Tuesday, October 8, 2013 at 6:00 p.m. in McWhorter Hall Room 110. The event is sponsored by the Belmont Student Occupational Therapy Association (BSOTA) and is open and free to the public, with convocation credit available to Belmont students.
Ms. Adams is a successful 33-year-old businesswoman from Tacoma, Washington. She was born with partial limbs and has used a wheelchair her whole life. She grew up in a family of eight children after being adopted along with five of her siblings, all who had either down syndrome or cerebral palsy. "I believe that really set me up to grow up into the world with a view of diversity and to accept people from the inside first," Adams said. "I attribute a lot to my parents." Her adopted mother, Jeanne, is a family doctor in Chehalis, Washington.
Faculty and students from the School of Occupational Therapy recently joined with Resolve TV to produce an educational video for the Council on Aging (COA) of Greater Nashville to demonstrate how family and friends can help safely transport older adults.
The Council on Aging aims to address the needs of older adults and caregivers through information, advocacy and education, acting as a catalyst for comprehensive solutions. COA identified the need to assist individuals in the Nashville community who help older adults get to and from appointments with doctors, attend church services, run errands and visit family and friends. While willing to help, these individuals were often unsure of how to safely assist seniors with transfers and mobility with devices such as walkers and wheelchairs. The Council connected with Belmont University School of Occupational Therapy to create a solution for the problem.
Dr. Teresa Plummer, Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy, recently presented at the annual conference of the Batten Disease Support and Research Association (BDSRA) held this year in Nashville. Dr. Plummer shared her expertise in a presentation on handling and positioning children with Batten disease and assistive technology products for children with the disease.
Batten disease affects children from birth and causes mental impairment, worsening seizures, and progressive loss of sight and motor skills over time. Eventually, the child becomes blind, bedridden and unable to communicate, and the disease is always fatal. Although Batten disease and related disorders are considered rare, they often strike more than one person in families that carry the defective gene.
BDSRA was formed in 1987 by a family who had three children with the disease. The association provides technical assistance and support to families who battle the disease while promoting research and education.
As part of my residency project for the Belmont University’s Occupational Therapy Doctorate Program this year, I worked with Eleanore’s Project, a non-profit organization focused on ergonomically appropriate wheelchair provision and education for families and clinicians in Peru. This spring, I traveled to Lima, Arequipa and Cusco to participate in the Eleanore’s Project wheelchair clinics. We provided education and 95 properly fitted wheelchairs for children and families throughout Peru.