New premises for rehab foundation

Mark Beack and son, Brandon Beack are pictured at the new Walking with Brandon Foundation premises at the Riverside Mall.

The Walking with Brandon Foundation (WWBF) has moved to new premises at Riverside Mall.

Previously at the Sports Science Institute of South Africa in Newlands, WWBF was co-founded by Mark Beack and his son, Brandon, in 2015.

Brandon, 23, was paralysed at 16 when he broke his neck in a 2012 gymnastics accident.

After trying various forms of rehabilitation, Brandon visited the Shepherd Centre in Atlanta, Georgia in 2013, where he was impressed with the centre’s neurological rehabilitation methods.

“I was standing in a standing frame on a daily basis; they got me walking in a bionic robotic suite, and I was activating muscles that I never knew were functional,” he said.

Brand said that after six weeks at the centre his muscle function had improved from 20% to 70%.

He and his father decided to bring some of the treatment methods to South Africa.

“We decided to make the programme public so that other people with disabilities can also get exposed to the bionic robotic suite and the therapy I was exposed to in America,” said Brandon.

Mark said the programme was not simply about giving rehab but about the right to access to rehab, which should not be seen as something for only the privileged few.

“We have two programmes, which is the paying patient for people who have medical aid, and we have the subsidised programme, for people from disadvantaged areas, which we offer at a low subsidised rate of R56 per session,” Mark said.“All patients get exactly the high-level form of therapy, regardless of whether you have medical aid or whether you are in the subsidised programme.”

The foundation doesn’t just help people with spinal cord injuries but also those with cerebral palsy, amputees and people who have stroke paralysis.

Brandon also participates in wheelchair sports and holds the African record in the 100m and 200m sprint events. He competed in the Swiss nationals in Nottwil, Switzerland in May.

Brandon had dreams as a gymnast to compete in the 2012 Olympics in London, but now his dream is to represent his country at the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo.

For more information, email admin@walkingwithbrandon.org or call 021 879 2280.