Mineral Resources was proud to partner with the Healthy Strides Foundation this Telethon weekend so more children can get access to a life-changing therapy program sooner.
In 2022, MinRes teamed-up with Healthy Strides and Telethon to bring gravity-defying technology, known as Stride ZeroG, to Western Australia.
The computer-controlled gait and balance system helps children with neurological conditions and injuries learn to walk without the fear of falling over.
It was the first time ZeroG had been used for paediatric rehabilitation in Australia and the results proved so phenomenal there is now an eight-month wait list for the program.
On Sunday, MinRes Executive General Manager, People Andrea Chapman announced during the live Channel 7 broadcast that MinRes would fund the purchase of a second ZeroG system.
“We were proud to help bring this technology to WA for the first time and I was privileged to visit Healthy Strides recently to see how it is helping children learn to walk,” Andrea said.
“The therapy is literally changing lives, which is why we jumped at the opportunity to partner with Telethon to fund a second ZeroG system so Healthy Strides can help more children sooner.”
Healthy Strides founder Dayna Pool, who remortgaged her house five years ago to establish the East Victoria Park-based centre, said children underwent intensive four-week programs to explore their mobility and “unlock their potential”.
“It’s not about perfection but it is about providing crucial opportunities for children who have physical impairments to move freely and to see what happens when they push through their legs and stand or walk. For some, it’s a sensation they’ve never had before,” Dayna said.
“To help children discover early on who they are, rather than later as so often happens, it just changes the trajectory of their lives and genuinely shapes futures.”
The Stride ZeroG program is fully booked to June 2024 but Dayna said the second device would reduce the waitlist and allow Healthy Strides to potentially offer the therapy to infants and toddlers for the first time.
“This generosity is beyond anything I’ve every experienced. It’s a beautiful partnership. Without this kind of support, it just wouldn’t happen – that’s the reality of it. Together, we are doing something pretty incredible,” Dayna added.
The commitment forms part of the $3.2 million contributed by MinRes to the Telethon tally in 2023. The donation will help fund medical research, life-saving equipment and critical services for WA children.
Eleven-year-old Alisa Tan, who has congenital disorder of glycosylation type 1a, a rare genetic condition that affects balance and co-ordination, recently completed her second Stride ZeroG program at Healthy Strides.
Mum Jacy Leu said Alisa “loved” being upright and taking steps while strapped into the ZeroG and she had seen notable improvements in her daughter’s balance and core strength.
“Before she started ZeroG, Alisa could sort of stand for a split second, but now she can actually stand for a couple of seconds – one time at Healthy Strides she stood for 13 seconds,” Jacy said.
MinRes volunteers in the Telethon Call Centre on Sunday included Jack Cummins, who was diagnosed with brain cancer aged 16 and learnt to walk again with the help of the team at Healthy Strides.
Today, Jack is a valued member of the MinRes Finance team and he was joined in the Call Centre by colleagues Matthew Raynor, Veronica Flamenco, Jane Ng and Michaela Scamaton.