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Haverhill businessman thanks Stowmarket brain injury rehab centre for its help

A man from Haverhill has donated £1,000 to a brain injury rehabilitation centre, in thanks for the life-changing treatment he received following a debilitating stroke.

A cheque for the amount was presented to Livability Icanho, in Chilton Way, Stowmarket, last Thursday by Bob Power.

The money was raised by the fitness company Next Level Fitness, which Bob founded with Ben Robinson after therapy at Icanho enabled him to regain his mobility and return to working life.

Bob was treated at Icanho after his wife Julie found him collapsed on their kitchen floor, leaving him unable to walk or care for himself.

His future looked bleak: “As well as having next to no mobility, my driving licence was suspended for a year, “ said Bob.

“As a self-employed carpenter and kitchen fitter, how was I going to support my family?”

Bob says he became ‘really low’ over the next few months, experiencing suicidal thoughts and despair.

He requested a referral to Livability Icanho after seeing a family friend make significant progress there.

The centre offers highly specialised therapy and has recently installed a state-of-the-art Bioness Vector machine, a dyanamic body weight support system which is used to enhance physical recovery.

Icanho’s centre manager Dr Rosemary Gravell said: “The fact that we can offer the relevant therapies within one joined-up service means we can provide unified, holistic rehabilitation, not available elsewhere.”

This breadth of therapies made a big difference to Bob, who explained: “As well as the physical therapy from the team there, Icanho encouraged me to see how much I could still do and let me talk about how I was feeling.

“Getting your mind right is really important.”

A medical insurance pay-out gave Bob the opportunity to think about his future.

He said: “With my daughter’s boyfriend Ben, who is a professional personal trainer, and my experience of how beneficial physical therapy is, we decided to set up a fitness business – Next Level Fitness.

“We started with two classes a week in a local field, mainly family and friends.”

Over two years, Bob and Ben, a former Haverhill Rovers footballer who now plays for Newmarket Town, have built up Next Level Fitness to a successful business in Haverhill, with over 100 clients attending classes six days a week.

Classes include circuit training, a 21-day challenge and nutritional advice.

Bob hosts regular social events as part of the business’ outreach, raising the £1,000 donation for Icanho at a recent Christmas party.

He said: “I always wanted this to be more about community and not just a fitness business.

“I needed to give something back to Icanho, and I want to raise more money for them.”

Dr Gravell was thrilled by Bob’s generosity – and his progress.

She said: “When I took Bob’s call to say he had nominated Icanho to benefit from his company’s Christmas fund-raising, I was incredibly touched to think that he wanted to recognise our work and the role we played in his rehabilitation.

“It means so much to receive donations from people with whom we have worked, who want to help others going through recovery and rehabilitation.

“The donation is incredibly generous – my first reaction was wow.”

Livability Icanho has been going for 22 years and specialises in supporting adults affected by personal injury.

It designs bespoke rehabilitation packages, to ensure its clients make maximum progress.

It has an experienced and highly specialised team of staff that includes occupational therapists, physiotherapists, clinical psychologists, speech and language therapists, a social worker and rehabilitation assistants.

To find out more about Liveability Icanho’s work, visit www.livability.org.uk/icanho

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