In early 2014 I was hired to document a project that involved converting a garage into a rehabilitation room for the then 4 years old Harvey Young. Harvey was born on the 18th of January 2010 six weeks premature which unfortunately left him suffering from Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy. The condition has dramatically affected his ability to use his legs and long term, if left untreated, would have left his legs and feet deformed due to his muscles pulling tighter on his bones. His parents, Nick and Natalie Young, decided to engage in some fundraising to raise around £50,000 for Harvey to undergo an operation in the US called Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) which involves cutting the nerves at the bottom of Harveys spine to remove the spasticity from his legs. On the 20th of June 2013 at St Louis Childrens Hospital, Missouri, USA Harvey underwent this operation with great success.
CREATING A PHYSIOTHERAPY SPACE
The operation was step one towards Harvey being able to lead a normal life. To help Harvey develop his leg muscles and co-ordination he undergoes specialised physiotherapy sessions. Nick, Harvey’s dad, wanted to convert their garage into a physiotherapy room to assist this process. After phoning several local companies Nick spoke to local building firm Solent Builders who kindly agreed to do the conversion free of charge. Below are a couple of images of the conversion process.
His weekly physical training and physiotherapy program are developed by Katie Worley from Hobbs Rehabilitation, personal trainer Steve Gale from Force Fitness and Mike Poole from mpfitness. It was during a conversion with Nick that I learned that one of Harveys physios, Mike Poole, suggested climbing would help with strengthening his legs and being a keen climber this caught my attention. The initial idea was to put some holds onto some plaster board which I quickly advised against and suggested building a proper frame based plywood wall that would be able to take his weight as he grew making it safe for him to use.
So, with the help of several friends we set about making this wall a reality.
BUILDING THE CLIMBING WALL
The main cost in building a climbing wall comes with the wood, the climbing holds and the mating. The guys from Solent Builders kindly donated the wood for the build. The climbing holds were donated by Core Climbing, Entreprise Climbing Walls, Pumped Holds, Custom Holds and Three Balls. The safety mating was donated by Vitafoam. Without the help of these companies building Harvey a climbing wall would have been substantially more difficult. Laurie from LP Double Glazing provided invaluable help and expertise building the wall free of charge.
So, on one sunny Sunday in late 2014 we set about building Harveys Wall. Below is the process of the wall being built.
When I first became involved with this project Harvey could only walk several steps by himself before falling over. Since then he has moved on leaps and bounds and can now walk the width of his rehabilitation gym. This progress has been down to his dogged determination, the efforts of his parents and assistance provided by his therapy team.
For more information about Harvey please do pop over to his website www.help4harvey.co.uk.