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Gymkit UK donate rehabilitation equipment to Laos bomb victims Laos


  • Young boy holding an unexploded cluster bomb in his out-stretched arms
  • 16-year old boy blinded by cluster bomb in Laos. He has also lost both hands. Sitting next to women
  • Cluster bomb partially hidden in long grass in Laos
  • Treadmill and exercise bikes in the shipping container ready to go to Laos
  • Two people undergoing physical rehabilitation in Laos. Both are wearing a prosthetic leg. Photo Andrew McConnell

Laos is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, bordering Vietnam and Thailand, with an estimated population of 6.5 million in 2012. During the Vietnam war of 1955 – 1975, millions of bombs were dropped on the country, many of which failed to detonate. Tens of thousands of people have been injured or killed as a result of unexploded bombs (source: COPE Charity). Most victims are children and men.

Gymkit UK collaborated with Medical Aid International and Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Enterprise (COPE) with the donation of desperately needed Life Fitness treadmills and Star Trac exercise bikes to help re-equip local rehabilitation centres.

How did it start?

We received a request from Tim Beacon who operates Medical Aid International, a UK-based social enterprise. Tim urgently needed to source fitness equipment to re-equip five treatment and rehabilitation centres in Laos, working closely with Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Enterprise (COPE).  COPE is a Laos-based non-profit organisation working with the Laos Ministry of Health to provide comprehensive rehabilitation services for bomb survivors and other people with disabilities across Laos.

Objectives

The objective of the donation was so that COPE could significantly update and improve five rehabilitation centres.

Why is this project important?

Tim Beacon of Medical Aid International had this to say about the project:

‘The treadmills and exercise cycles are a critical rehabilitation tool, as amputees and those with limb problems receive vital treatment. COPE’s current equipment is broken and insufficient for the workload and clinical requirements. Both COPE and Medical Aid International are extremely grateful to Howard Braband and his wonderful team at Gymkit UK for their support and donation of the treadmills and exercise cycles to this project.’

Project resources

We donated three Life Fitness 9500 treadmills and four Star Trac 4300 bikes. Medical Aid International then organised delivery and installation to Laos.

Project results

The donation meant that the rehabilitation centres were able to replace the existing broken exercise machines with three Life Fitness 9500 treadmills and four Star Trac 4300 bikes. Effective rehabilitation is a vital part of the recovery process, supporting the great work undertaken by the surgical teams.

‘The quality is superb and the effort that they went to, to make sure they were just right for the environment was amazing. We are all so grateful for their support. It is so encouraging and inspirational to know that there are companies out there willing to help like this. They are very special people.’ Tim Beacon, Medical Aid International

Gymtopia Comment

We were surprised to discover that some physical rehabilitation centres across Laos suffer from poor quality and even broken exercise equipment. How can the great work of surgical teams be continued into the rehabilitation phase if physical therapists do not have working equipment? A simple thing such as a treadmill or exercise bike can breathe new life back into a centre and help people to re-build their lives.

  • RayAlgar

    So now we know how to use some of machines that have fulfilled their first purpose at the gym – re-use, re-cycle, rehabilitate

  • Rob Gregory

    If we all think hard enough there are truly hundreds of ways we can help people less fortunate and disadvantaged. This is a great initiative from Howard and his team. Many lives wil be changed for the better as a result. As always it is a reminder for me and I’m sure many more people, to think how we can contribute to people in need.

  • This story has been featured in the March 2014 edition of Health Club Management

  • Received by email: 27 April 2014:

    ‘I was looking to donate a treadmill to a charity and saw this fantastic cause.
    I have a 3 to 4 year Livestrong treadmill that still works that I no longer want as knee surgery means I can no longer run. Would you be interested in acquiring this and if so what would be the next step.’

    Regards John T

Project by:GYMKITUK

GYMKITUK

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Location: Laos
Start date: December 2011
Status: Ended
Impact: National
Submitted: 4 October 2013
Causes:
Charity: Medical Aid International