Discovery of a healing activity
Samantha Estes is a remarkable young woman. She is 15 years old and is a student at Hanover High School. I have had the privilege of working with Sam as her swim instructor at RVC in the therapy pool for the last year.
For many of us, it is a challenge to work out, for any variety of reasons. For Sam, the challenge is in the form of cerebral palsy. She was diagnosed with CP when she was 10 months of age and she has to work really hard to do things that others can do with ease.
But Sam is gifted with a beautiful spirit and she always has a smile and a positive attitude. She is willing to work hard to achieve her goals. Sam uses a motorized wheelchair and needs assistance with most of the tasks of living.
She uses the lift to enter the pool, but once she is in the water she is able to do many amazing things! When she first started swimming at RVC, she needed assistance to swim, but with consistent work and encouragement, we have found ways to help Sam swim on her own.
We began by strengthening her abdominal muscles and then progressively worked on making her legs and arms stronger. Additionally we worked on increasing endurance. When Sam made gains in strength in her core, arms, and legs, she became stronger overall and we started to use fins, which enabled her to swim completely unassisted. She was so excited because she became able to move herself through the water completely independently.
We also started to use a snorkel, which allowed her to swim for an extended time, giving her the ability to increase her aerobic endurance. Sam thinks it is really fun swimming with her fins and snorkel and she loves the freedom it gives to her.
We continue to work on strength and endurance. Sam loves her swimming sessions at RVC because she has become stronger and can swim independently. She also finds the water relaxing and therapeutic. Additionally, she really appreciates how respectful people are to her at RVC.
By increasing her muscle strength and endurance in the water we are working towards Sam becoming stronger and healthier. The buoyancy of the water allows her to do some things she has always wished to do.
Recently, Sam was able to walk on her own in the water. To walk without assistance in the water made Sam so happy. Through her swim workouts Sam is strengthening her body, mind and spirit