Stroke survivor Murray Shergold receiving muscle stimulation from the RT300 Functional Electrical Stimulation Ergometer at NeuroMoves in Southern Cross University’s Health Clinic. Pictured l-r - Exercise Physiologists Kate Schaefer and Sam Mitchell, Graham Batten from Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation, and Southern Cross University’s Vice-President Global, Chris Patton.

Stroke survivor Murray Shergold, a chipper 70-year-old from Woodburn, was told by specialists in Brisbane that he should not expect to ever walk again after suffering a stroke.

Now, just months later and after weekly sessions on the RT300 Functional Electrical Stimulation Ergometer in the NeuroMoves gym at Southern Cross University Health Clinic, Murray is beginning to walk without a stick.

To say he’s pleased is putting it mildly, and the same goes for his wife Jean, who runs a local nursing service as well as an orchid business.

“I’ve got energy and I’m continuing to get better,” Murray said at the official opening of the facility that has been operating since last March.

“The difference has been incredible,” Jean Shergold told GPSpeak. “We thought he’d be wheelchair-bound for the rest of his life, but the progress has been absolutely amazing.”

Supported by the excellent clinical staff at NeuroMoves, Murray’s progress is largely attributable to the RT300, valued at more than $50,000, and the only machine of its kind in the Northern Rivers, with no other between Sydney and Brisbane.

As exercise physiologist Sam Mitchell explained while hooking Murray up to a complex set of electrodes, the device provides direct electrical stimulus to a patient’s muscles, bypassing the spinal cord in order to activate them directly.

The RT 300 and other equipment in the facility were officially unveiled on July 21st by the key partners in this latest NeuroMoves service, the first of its kind in regional Australia.

Coming together to celebrate and meet some highly appreciative patients were Peter Perry, chief executive of Spinal Cord Injuries Australia (SCIA), which manages NeuroMoves, Southern Cross University’s Vice-President Global, Chris Patton, Marlene Assim, SCU Health Clinic Manager, and Graham Batten, Executive Officer of Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation, which has granted $88,000 to fit out the facility.

“People living with a disability in regional areas should have access to the same high quality equipment and services available to those living in the city,” Mr Batten said.

Previously, as Mr Perry noted, people with spinal cord injuries, neurological conditions and other physical disabilities had to fly to Sydney or travel north for this kind of specialised care. He expects that the rollout of the NDIS will significantly increase the facility’s usage.

 

Mr Batten congratulated SCIA for bringing NeuroMoves to Lismore, and praised SCU for supporting this important community partnership.

“It’s bound to make a significant difference and help to improve the fitness, mental health and general wellbeing of local people living with a physical disability,” he added.