NLL LEGEND - GILLIAN RANKIN
After a virus left Gillian, a keen hockey player with muscle weakness, fatigue, spasticity and foot drop, she had reached a low point in life, feeling depressed and isolated in her own house not being able to do the things she used to.
This all changed when a physio therapist referred her to Strength and Balance classes and she realised that she could regain parts of herself she had lost. We caught up with Gillian to find out more about her story.
How did you feel when you started the class?
At the class I felt nervous to start with, especially as I brought the average age down considerably, but in a way inspired me to work harder and keep up with 'the oldies' and it wasn't long before that hour was the highlight of my week, getting me out the house, and not just to appointments.
What do you enjoy most about the classes?
The instructors were welcoming and encouraging and the class had many benefits both the physical of working on my co-ordination & progress of being able to stand from a chair, but also the mental health benefits of being in good company.
How have the classes impacted your life?
After attending the classes for a while I reached the stage that I was energetic enough to return to college and since then I have started a full time job in a farm supply shop which keeps me relatively active. I have also started horse riding through Riding for Disabled, which is thanks to the strength and balance classes encouraging me to what I can, when I can and how I can, without getting frustrated at myself.
What have you been doing since you finished your classes?
This summer I decided to make a return to training, to improve my fitness levels, I love being outdoors and dream of walking the west highland way. I have taken up cycling for cardio fitness and have been strength training to benefit both my work and also my horse riding.
Any other comments?
I know my condition may mean I'm never able to complete the 96 miles or even play another game of hockey, however the Strength and Balance classes taught me it's all the small goals and accomplishments in the journey that count.