Today more people than ever are living with permanent injuries, particularly the back, hip, and knees. The stigma of being disabled diminishes their quality and enjoyment of life. Many are given a walking cane: a neon sign blazing “I am less than I was!”
These canes, while greatly helpful, are a constant reminder of this change in their lifestyles. Because of this and the pain associated with the disability, people stop participating in physical exercise and outdoor activities they once enjoyed, and thus, often lose their social support network.
The I “Cane” Do program is designed to reverse this foreclosure of life and joy. Through the utilization of techniques found in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) the program teaches students to engage life and not allow fears of pain or loss to interfere the enjoyment of life’s pleasures. Students learn how to use the cane as an exercise tool; to rebuild the physical strength required to re-engage in life’s enjoyable activities. And we also teach how to use the cane for self-defense. This is important in today’s society where violence against people with disabilities is on the rise. This self-defense aspect of the I “Cane” Do program also helps to re-empower the students to feel safe as well as free them from the thoughts or possibility of becoming a victim.
Additionally, I “Cane” Do provides a true social network connecting students to a community of people who understand what it is like to live with a permanent disability.
This training program transforms the cane from being a reminder of pain and weakness to a symbol of power, strength, and community. It becomes a reminder of the enriched life yet to come combined with the strength and skills to live it.
Students who have taken part in the program report improvements in many areas of their lives, such as experiencing a significant reduction in fear of going out in public and fear of falling. Some students have used the program to help them successfully lose weight as well as increase general strength and flexibility. In addition, many have noticed a major improvement in their emotional states and engagement with the significant other’s in their lives.
I have been working with a large HMO to help their clients take first step towards changing their lives. With the help of local professionals and personal funding I have been able to offer the I “Cane” Do program. My objective is to expand the program to more students and provide a more stable location. I am requesting enough capital to cover rent, marketing, advertising, insurance, and equipment. I would also like to include a scholarship fund to help those on a low/fixed income cover the cost of classes and equipment (such as the proper type of cane).
Your donations will help enable me to help more people to transform their pains into triumphs! It is my hope that each person who sees this project will not only provide a small donation but help spread the word.