Getting Wild On Wheels!

Updated: Aug 2


Throughout BC and the United States, people are getting wild on wheels!


Kristi Leer

July 23, 2022


The path to recovery from my spinal cord injury had been tough, but meeting the Get Wild crew changed my life.


Get Wild is an easy-going, seated dance class for people of all abilities, but before anything else it's a group of peers who are always there for you.


THE INTRODUCTION


Living remotely by the Yukon border, I don’t have access to routine physio or nearby peers who understand me and my personal hurdles in life.


But moving wasn't an option as I began my recovery from spinal cord injury, and my kids had already been through enough with almost losing their mom.


Raising kids is a full-time job and so is recovery, so when I was first released from rehab in Vancouver I initially put work first and family second just to keep up with my recovery.


My relationship with my children and family began to grow distant, but then I met Marney Smithies during the accessible parking wars of 2021, and it would be through her that I finally found a way to keep the balance.

She introduced me to “Get Wild”, an online seated dance, exercise, and peer support program I've been able to engage in from my Northern BC home.

Kristi making progress during her recovery


Now with a click of a button I can bring peers and support into my house while I raise my kids Rayanne and Gavin, look after our furry friends Tiger and Reese, and still feel accomplished in reaching my own goals.


See, when an airplane's going down the instructions are to “put your mask on first" and then help others, or you'll be no good to anyone.


As a parent, I thought this was impossible, but since my accident I can officially say that I've mastered the art of putting my mask on first!


And I'm not the only one.


IGNITING THE FIRE


For Marney Smithies, who introduced me to the program, "Get Wild" was similarly life changing.


Not only does she enjoy the workout, being able to share and learn from her classmates has been invaluable.


"We all discuss the challenges of living with a disability, ranging from newly injured, those injured long ago, and those born with a disability, and being able to share how to get over the many hurdles is priceless."


Get Wild members show off their stuff


Likewise, it's the social connection to a group of peers who 'get it' that has made the biggest impact for Natalie Imbeau, a Vancouver resident who joined the group when she was living in Washington State.


"In Washington it wasn't easy to find others who were disabled like I am and who knew what it was like on a daily basis."


"Joining the group re-connected me with people who were like me and ignited that fire in me again to push myself beyond what I knew possible. The fun and laughter we all share is also very contagious and good for you!"


And the group's had a similar impact for people like Kim Egger, Sherry Watts, Debbie Richardson, LD Artman, and Nicole Star, all of whom help make the classes such an amazing experience.


So if you're ready to get wild, have fun, and meet some great people while you build your fitness, come learn more and join us!


To learn more about Get Wild, visit Spinal Cord BC

 

Spencer van Vloten is the editor of BC Disability. To get in touch, send an email to spencer@bcdisability.com!