Kevin Woods from Cork City struggled with depression after acquiring a spinal injury, but his outlook on life was transformed when he made contact with his local IWA centre and started availing of weekly Personal Assistant (PA) hours.
“When I had my fall in 2004, the trauma of it all left me feeling overwhelmed,” says Kevin, “I became very withdrawn and depressed. My public health nurse suggested that IWA might be able to help, but for a long while I didn’t want to accept any support. I was stubborn and found it hard to think of myself as a wheelchair user.”
I’ve gone from being stuck at home 24/7 to having to check my diary if I want to make plans! IWA has opened my eyes to what is available to me and now my life is so fulfilled.
Several years passed and Kevin finally made contact with his local IWA centre. “Just a few days later I got a phone call from them asking would I like to go on a fishing trip. And, well, that trip turned out to be one of the best experiences I’ve ever had! I thought, ‘So this is what IWA is about!’ That day was the start of a new life for me.”
Currently, Kevin attends his local centre two days a week and has the support of an IWA PA for six hours per week. “On Thursday, my PA and I normally go for a walk, which has helped me feel confident about using my wheelchair in public, and she has also been teaching me to cook. On Friday, my PA will drive me to the post office to collect my pension and pay my bills, or to collect my prescriptions and do my food shopping. If we’ve time, we might even stop for a coffee.
“The support of the PA service has really helped me get my life together. My mental and physical health, even my physical appearance, has improved. I feel more able to fend for myself. I also did an IWA course in personal development, and since then I’ve been using social media to make friends. I’ve gone from being stuck at home 24/7 to having to check my diary if I want to make plans! IWA has opened my eyes to what is available to me and now my life is so fulfilled.”