Achilles regular and committee member, Brian O'Dea, has been featured in a fantastic article by Settlement Services International (SSI). An exert of the the article is featured below and you can read the whole article here. It's fantastic for us to hear firsthand how the impact of regular exercise can change people's everyday life for the better.
"A vision-impaired runner will join the SSI team in City2Surf 2017 thanks to a connection his Ability Links linker made with the Achilles Running Club in Sydney.
Zhen Hua Lin, a participant in the Ability Links NSW (ALNSW) program, was told about running in the City2Surf by his linker, Li Hua Chu.
From early childhood, Mr Lin had always loved running but three years ago he went from being totally active to living in a nursing home after an allergic reaction to antibiotics rendered him blind.
He could no longer run and was reluctant to venture outside. His fitness deteriorated.
Concord Hospital case workers referred Mr Lin to ALNSW, a free program that SSI delivers to support people with disability. It is designed to help them plan for their future by building on their strengths and skills.
Ms Chu found a way to get Mr Lin out of his house and start training. She contacted the Achilles Running Club, which offers a supportive social environment for people with disabilities to achieve life changing goals through training and participation in running and walking events.
At Achilles she found Brian O'Dea, a volunteer who jumped at the challenge.
Mr O'Dea said Achilles sought to get people with disability to enjoy the benefits of exercise. “We exist for people like Mr Lin,” he said.
“This kind of exercise can be life changing. We’ve been delighted how by giving people the opportunity we can change things for them.”
After three years with no activity outside his house, Mr Lin is now getting exercise in the open air, training on Wednesdays and Saturdays."
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Our mission is to enable people from all walks of life, including those with physical impairments, to enjoy the health giving benefits of walking and running in a supportive, social and encouraging environment.