Update 2014 So Far!
Therapies Unite Nominated for an Award!
We are ecstatic to announce that Therapies Unite has been nominated for its first ever award! The Latin UK Awards celebrate all things Latino happening in the UK or special things being done by UK residents. Therapies Unite has been nominated for Charity/Human Rights Organisation of the Year and Laura Brown has been nominated for Charity/Human Rights Worker of the Year.
We have been successful in getting through the final round and would really appreciate your support. Please take a moment to vote for Therapes Unite for Charity of the Year and vote for Laura Brown in Human Rights Worker of the Year. Second round voting finishes on the 6th of April and winners announced on 10th of April.
It would be fantastic to be recognised for our contribution to developing health services for the disabled community in Puerto Vallarta. Being a small organisation with very few volunteers and limited funding we have achieved so much over the past 3 years. All of our money, time and effort goes directly to the people that need it most and we work from the heart. We are honoured to be able to do this work and winning this award would be a wonderful gift for us.
To find out more about Therapies Unite and why we believe we deserve your vote, please take a look at our website or visit our Facebook page . You can even see us in action on our YouTube channel. To learn more about Laura, how and why she started Therapies Unite and the impact her work has had in Mexico please visit
Our 20 Tonnes of Equipment Arrives!!!
We are finally able to start giving out our specialist equipment to individuals in need as well as donating to specialist centres and schools across Puerto Vallarta. We are also working with the local Government Disability Services, using their database to access information about people who have contacted them for help. Our equipment is starting to fly out and every time we give something away it is just incredible to see the difference it makes. We recently helped an elderly man who had to have his leg amputated has not been able to leave his house for 4 months as he could not afford a wheelchair. Now he can go outside and enjoy the sunshine.
The 5 sports wheelchairs we received have been donated to local athletes and are being used to start a wheelchair basketball club, in athletic events and for dancing. The list of people that we are helping is growing steadily and are keeping a record so we can look back and say THANK YOU to everyone who helped us achieve this, it truly is an incredible thing. A special mention must go to FCL Global Forwarding for donating the shipment from the UK to Mexico and to International Aid Trust who donated most of the equipment. What a difference a simple piece of equipment can make and we have the pleasure of witnessing these mini miracles every day. We have big plans for some of the equipment so watch this space!
Libertad sobre Ruedas/Freedom on Wheels
The idea of this project is inclusion in recreational activities for people with disabilities. We are so proud of our athletes, cyclists and dancers we want to show them off and we are causing quite a stir in Puerto Vallarta. Using the donated sports wheelchairs and adapted bikes, we have set up a bike club that meets every two weeks on a Sunday to use the main highway which is closed to cars for 4 hours. We lend the adapted bikes and wheelchairs to children and adults and have a great time racing up and down. For some that attend it is the first time they have been able to use a bike and enjoy riding outdoors with their family and friends. The second part of this project is dance. We have started two sessions a week and we are teaching all different forms of dance as well as performing across the city at events. This has been one of my personal highlights and I had the pleasure of performing with our dancers last week at a local event. Click here to watch the video!
The Catrin Pickles Centre
We are honouring the memory of our dear friend Catrin and dedicating this centre to her. We have been donated a clinic space by the local Government and have just moved in and will start out clinics in the next few weeks. The idea of this clinic is primarily a postural management clinic where people can bring their children to be assessed for a specialist wheelchair. We are working with the specialist team in Monterrey to help train our local team to enable them to start assessing and adapting the equipment stock we have. In addition we run our dance classes from here, we are starting art classes and will also be offering therapy programs so that parents can attend to learn about things they can do with their child at home. I want to start developing courses that will be aimed at families, healthcare professionals and anyone who is working with disabled people, so that we can enhance the development of existing services.
Our wonderful swimming program goes from strength to strength. Our numbers are growing all the time and we have made huge developments this time with the inclusion of the parents. This was a big challenge but with a donation of swim suits from Catrin’s swimming club has enabled us to get the Mums in the water. Now we have each child working with Mum or Dad which makes everything much easier, the child is happier and learning more and I am free to assist the parents where needed. The sessions are running so well and the children are very excited to attend every week, desperate to know what kind of adventure we will be going on. Our swimming star Sergio is now training with the adapted sports team but drops in most weeks to swim about and help the other children learn, he is great for their confidence. In addition to our Penguins, we are also helping to support the implementation of Halliwick Swimming Therapy and hydrotherapy at another centre for children with disabilities. Cannock and Burntwood Rotary Club recently donated £650 to buy a new pump so that the pool can be back in action. Two of the teachers from the centre attended our Halliwick Swimming Therapy Course in 2012 so they will be able to run the swimming sessions, with our support, and provide therapy to children at the centre as well as children from the community.
CAM 21 Special Needs School
We continue to run our therapy sessions at CAM21. I have known the students since I first came to Mexico in 2009 and it is wonderful to see them all grow and develop. We visit the school twice a week to give therapy (group and individual) to all the children as well as work with the parents and teachers. In addition, we recently started dance classes, which they absolutely love and we are working towards some performances in the near future. It is amazing to see how the pupils respond to music and lots of fun for us as well. I am planning to purchase some basic PE equipment for the school so they can continue to develop their therapy sessions as it is such an important part of their physical, mental and social development.
We are involved in various community projects across Puerto Vallarta. We have started working with students from different schools and the local University to help develop their knowledge and awareness of the disabled community and create work experience projects and volunteering opportunities for them. These students visit our swimming sessions, therapy sessions and bike club to learn about the therapy we offer and also give something back to their community Therapies Unite is also involved in the Heroes for Vallarta project, a Government initiative to get help to those people who have difficulty accessing health services due to their location, lack of transport and money. They visit local communities every two weeks to promote their services and collect information from people who need help or specialist equipment. Therapies Unite have been invited to take part and are giving out equipment to those in need, publicising the services we offer as well as performing with the children and adults from our dance group.
As you can see we are extremely busy but we are developing and achieving our goal, which is to make a difference and to change lives. It is only due to the support and donations that we receive that we are able to continue and I want to thank all those who have helped us from the bottom of my heart. Whether it is money, equipment, time, advice, support, volunteering, fundraising, being forced to attend salsa events or climb mountains you are all part of something very special. I wish I could show every one of you the impact your support is having, but as flights to Mexico are pretty expensive, the photos and videos will just have to do! Please visit our Facebook page and Youtube Channel for more. Thank you for helping us to change lives.