CQ locals 'seas the day' with support from health students

21 September 2022

CQUniversity allied health students were thrilled to give back to their community last week' assisting residents living with a disability or mobility restrictions at this year's Beach Day Out event on Friday' 16 September.

CQUniversity Physiotherapy lecturer Sasha Job said Beach Day out was an important event for those in the community with accessibility concerns - many of whom never had the opportunity to visit a beach before.

"Having a disability can make it difficult to access the beach' but the annual Emu Park event provides specialised equipment including access paths' and sand wheelchairs as well as physical assistance to help everyone enjoy the sun' sand and surf'" Ms Job said.

"One gentleman we assisted was in his 60s and had never been able to get onto the beach. His joy was so special! I cried' he cried' we all cried happy tears.

"I loved sharing this important real-world experience with our students. It was great to engage with them and help develop their sense of social responsibility."

More than 30 Physiotherapy' Occupational Therapy and Speech Pathology students volunteered their time to help with the wheelchair to beach transfers and participate in beach activities.

CQU Physiotherapy lecturer (Neurological) Dr Vanesa Bochkezanian' who has been a part of the Beach Day Out Committee since 2019' said this year's event was the most impactful with the largest number of CQU student volunteers to date.

"It was wonderful to witness their commitment and participation' which was highlighted by several members of the community who attended the event'" Dr Bochkezanian said.

"I experienced the joy of so many people who have never been to the beach or have never had their feet being touched by the ocean.

"Sharing these experiences with our students is so meaningful and rewarding that I cannot wait to do it again next year."

Beach Day Out participants were very grateful for the CQU volunteers with one attendee stating it was the first time they had been on a beach in over 10 years.

"Sasha and Vanesa were wonderful. Their students assisted me into the wheelchair and helped me get my feet in the ocean'" they said.

"I really wanted to feel the sand. Thanks to their support' I was able to stand and feel the sand between my toes. I was overcome by the experience."

Second-year physiotherapy student Georgia Canfell said the event made her appreciate how disability can impact access that able bodied people often take for granted.

"Seeing the smiles and how they lit up was beautiful and very rewarding'" Georgia said.

"Being able to engage with different support workers and network on how they approach their roles was also very insightful."

Fellow student Michelle Buan agreed and said she was grateful for the opportunity to engage with the community outside of a clinical environment.

"I thoroughly enjoyed volunteering for the Beach Day Out as we were able to apply the skills we learnt in class' such as transfers via the use of full and standing hoists'" Michelle said.

"To be able to assist someone in a beach wheelchair and for them to be able to have access and have fun at the beach like everyone else was a priceless experience."

Compare Boiler Cover UK

Powered by flickr embed.