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I NTERV I E W

Hal Hargrave has been the inspiration for incredible progress in exercise for spinal injury interventions

About the Be Perfect Foundation Hal Hargrave Jnr The Be Perfect Foundation is a non-profit organisation with a mission to provide financial and emotional support to people living with paralysis. It works with The Perfect Step Foundation and The Claremont Club. Be Perfect has changed the lives of hundreds of people with paralysis by keeping them in recovery, purchasing medical necessities and providing guidance and emotional support. Hal Hargrave created Be Perfect in 2007, just a few months after he suffered a lifealtering car accident that left him paralysed from the neck down. To date, the foundation has raised more than US$6m for people with paralysis. Be Perfect helps paralysis patients get back into the game of life. This is made possible through the partnership of Be Perfect, The Perfect Step and The Claremont Club. Each of these organisations is key to making recovery possible.

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Issue 5 2021 ©Cybertrek 2021

Mission To provide direct financial and emotional aid for individuals living with paralysis by providing resources, paying for medical expenses, restoring hope and encouraging personal independence through a non-traditional method of exercise-based therapy. Vision To live in a world where paralysis does not financially burden families to the point of emotional turmoil and physical distress and where a lack of both hope and resources does not exist. Be Perfect promotes a holistic, exercise-based therapy approach to recovery, offering scholarships for activity-based therapy at The Perfect Step to qualified recipients. The charity also provides supplemental funds to those who can’t afford thing such as wheelchairs, car adaptations, medical bills, daily medical necessities and financial assistance for outpatient therapies.

Could you tell us about some of the most extreme conditions you have helped people with? Augie Nieto, the founder of Life Fitness and Hammer Strength, came to us as a result of suffering from ALS. We had never worked with anyone with ALS before, but I had known Augie since the 80s and really wanted to help him. He was completely dependent on his power chair, needed a ventilator, a feeding tube and a neck brace. However, working with him in the gym and on the gait trainer we managed to bring more movement back into his arms and legs, so with the help of an upright gait trainer, Augie was able to walk his youngest daughter down the aisle at her wedding. Another young African-American man we worked with had suffered a severe C5/C6 injury. His life was incredibly limited and he could only move his chair by blowing into a tube.

PHOTO: THE PERFECT STEP

PHOTO: THE PERFECT STEP

with individuals with multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, stroke, Parkinson’s, traumatic brain injury, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and transverse myelitis. The club ran a Cycling for Parkinson’s programme alongside, offering sessions in the cycling studio three times a week.

The aim is to recreate functional movement patterns to promote neuroplasticity