Community & Business

21 May, 2022

Support helps Angie to reach new goals

ANGIE Kirks cerebral palsy hasn’t stopped her from finding a passion for swimming, with her support worker Sondra being the driving force to help her swim 2km twice a week to keep fit and healthy

Support helps Angie to reach new goals - feature photo

As Sondra leaves Atherton to start fresh down south, Angie’s family thanks her for everything she has done to help Angie’s health. In the past, Angie’s disability has weighed her down and limited what she does, with her mum Marie noticing her gain weight and her eating habits becoming poor. 

Marie began to look at ways to help keep her daughter fit and active, hiring Sondra through NDIS to help motivate and push Angie to exercise. Spending every Thursday and Friday at the Atherton Aquatic Centre, Angie and Sondra began to swim laps and getting her body moving, with improvements in her health and mood being noticed by Marie. 

“Because Angie can’t get herself around as much and because she’s pretty much nonverbal, its hard to get her moving and she tends to drink and eat unhealthy a lot more than others,” Marie said. “So, I came up with an idea to get her walking through the garden and replacing soft drinks with water – she loves her soft drinks – and then I went ‘let’s go swimming’.” 

Marie has been a swim coach since 2008 and Angie has grown up knowing the pool. Wanting to pass her love for swimming down to her daughter, Marie began her search for the perfect support worker to help motivate Angie to get in the pool.

“Sondra enjoys going for a swim and she was ready to take Angie rain, hail or shine so we knew she was the perfect fit,” Marie said. “It’s turned Angie’s life around and she’s toning up a bit and she is seeing the benefits in eating healthy, even though she is still a big lover of soft drink. “Sondra has that drive and passion and has been able to get Angie in the pool and swimming those laps.” 

Watching Angie grow in strength, confidence and focus when swimming, Sondra believes Angie has definitely “In the beginning she was trying to find distractions and excuses to get out of it like saying ‘my back hurts’ but with repetition and constant reassurance we were able to reach her goal,” Sondra said. “Occasionally she will point out things outside the pool as a distraction, but you have her to remind her to get to the end of the pool first – and she does get there. 

“I am definitely going to miss her and all my other clients up here.” To celebrate her achievements and to give Sondra a big farewell, Angie, Sondra, Marie and Angie’s friends got together for a barbeque, one of Angie’s favourite things to do.


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