Cerebral palsy sufferer Alex Christmas wanted nothing more than for doctors to amputate his out of control left arm.
He is very glad they didn’t, as he can now use it to get dressed, clean his teeth, and use the bathroom independently.
Alex, 30, spent years working with physiotherapists and relying on carers to do things for him. But it was a personal trainer at his local gym who managed to help him achieve life changing results.
“Most people take cleaning their teeth or getting dressed for granted but for me, the ability to do those things is lifechanging,” said Alex.
“My left arm used to be completely out of control due to my condition, and I had to sit on it as I was so afraid of knocking things over. I never imagined that I’d be able to use it like I can today. I can shake someone’s hand…things that were once unimaginable for me.”
Alex started working with Sam Quinn, the personal training lead at a Nuffield Health Fitness & Wellbeing Centre in Devon, after he signed up with his mother.
“She wanted to get stronger so that she could look after me,” explained Alex.
“My mum was 42 when she had me and as one of my main carers, she needed a strong body. She spoke to Sam about me, and he offered to help. He didn’t know anything about cerebral palsy, but he did a lot of research and came up with a plan.”
When Sam asked Alex what he hoped to gain from the sessions, he explained that he wanted to strengthen his upper body and improve coordination. His proudest moment was pulling a 100kg sled along a 10m track with one arm while seated.
The pair (pictured above) began their work together with some basic movements.
“Sam started by getting me to hold a ball,” said Alex. “Then we moved onto a weight and then I did shoulder presses without any weights. My body had to get used to the movements. With cerebral palsy, you don’t just move one muscle, my whole body is having a workout and while I’m very focused on the weight I’m lifting, Sam will be looking at my whole body and telling me to keep my back straight, uncross my legs, keep my feet planted on the ground, etc. We make a great team.”
The physical results have been incredible and working out with Sam has boosted Alex’s self-confidence and social life. One of Alex’s biggest wishes now is to find a girlfriend.
“One thing I’ve learned through working with Sam is that anything is possible if you put your mind to it,” added Alex.
To find out how Nuffield Health Fitness and Wellbeing Centres can help you achieve your health and fitness goals in 2024, visit: https://www.nuffieldhealth.com/