Australian Lions Children’s Mobility Foundation

alcmf children's walkers

Foundation Spotlight

Many Australian children cannot walk due to medical conditions like Cerebral Palsy. They can’t run or jump or play like other kids. Often they’re stuck low in a chair and can’t even talk eye-to-eye.

However, by facilitating the funding of specialised walking devices, the Australian Lions Children’s Mobility Foundation (ALCMF) helps get them out of their wheel chairs and onto their feet, empowering each child to reach his or her potential.

In 1996, the Whitfield family of Allambie in Sydney were told about the Walker by a doctor who had seen it while visiting in the UK. Peter and Sophia Whitfield’s son Luke, then four, was born with cerebral palsy and they were determined to help him in any way they.

The family travelled to England in 1996, for Luke to be fitted with The Hart Walker. Not only did Luke experience walking for the first time in his life, but his general health also dramatically improved. The family was so impressed with the results and the positive impact on Luke’s life, they wanted as many children as possible to benefit from the Walker. They approached The Spastic Centre of NSW to raise funds and start The David Hart Walker Program in Sydney. The Children’s Mobility Program incorporating the Hart Walker was established in November 1996 by The Spastic Centre of New South Wales and was granted the Australian licence by David Hart.

In February 1997, in response to the Whitfield family’s request, The Spastic Centre sent five children, accompanied by their parents, an orthotist and a physiotherapist, to England to be fitted with the Hart Walker. The therapists were trained personally by David Hart, in the fitting and ongoing care, training and monitoring of these young children as they develop and grow. In February 1998 The Spastic Centre
sent another Orthotist and Physiotherapist to England for training to prepare the program for the increasing demand. The Spastic Centre’s trained staff are authorised by David Hart to train physiotherapists and orthotists to fit and maintain walkers around Australia, making it possible to have teams trained in every state.

There are children enjoying its benefits in every state and territory of Australia.
The demand for the Walker is constant, because as more children are fitted, word spreads about the Walker’s benefits, and new children are added to the list for assessment. The Walkers are imported in kit form from Canada.

A range of walkers are available to cover every level of disability for children up to 18
years old. Identifying the correct walker takes into consideration the need for balance and occasional support, through to full support of weight, whilst still being able to step forward.

We as Lions are not able to assess which device is the best for each individual child, and therefore, we rely on the professionals who are working with the children to advise which is ideal for that particular child.

We empower children who can not walk without assistance to reach their potential. We do this by obtaining funding through the Lions organisation for walking devices that get kids out of their wheel chairs and on to their feet so they are able to walk, explore, play, work and socialise. This makes them stronger and healthier – physically, emotionally and mentally.

Walking is our gift to the child, a gift that benefits the child, their family and friends.
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