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Discovering Ability Beyond Disability

The journey which started as a passionate bakery based in Amritsar, eventually led Nicky P Kaur lay the foundation stone of Chandigarh Spinal Rehab after a chance meeting with Manmeet Dubb 10 years ago, which was her first brush with a person with spinal cord injury.

“Manmeet, who became a dear friend, was paralyzed neck down. Through him, I became aware of the enormous physical, emotional, social, and financial challenges faced by persons with spinal cord injury, which imposes multiple disabilities at one stroke,” she shared while highlighting the lack of quality rehabilitation facilities in India.

Moved by Manmeet, Kaur vowed to devote her life to empower and enhance the quality of life of our community battling with devastating disabilities such as spinal cord injury and brain injury.

“I also met Paramjeet Kaur, again paralyzed neck down, who was an inspiration. I share a deeply cherished bond with her. It is unfortunate that before we set up Chandigarh Spinal Rehab, we lost Manmeet. Fortunately, we were able to give Paramjeet Kaur a new lease of life with Quality Rehabilitation, though she had languished, bedridden without rehabilitation, for 18-and-half years after her spinal cord injury. To see her move independently on a motorized wheelchair was the much-needed vindication for the journey I had embarked,” she further added.

“It gives me great joy to see my vision unfolding through Chandigarh Spinal Rehab as a dynamic centre of true empowerment. We are bringing hope, dignity, purpose, and joy to lives of those facing daunting challenges,” Kaur affirmed.

In a candid interview with Nicky P Kaur Founder & CEO, Chandigarh Spinal Rehab, we explore more about her inspiring journey that is creating ripples of positivity with each passing day.

What have been some of your biggest learnings so far?

One of the most important lessons in my journey with Chandigarh Spinal Rehab has been the understanding that what is most important is holding on to the vision, and I believe that the vision is what is God’s wish for whatever we are doing to unfold.

It is something that the soul needs to do. It is something that is divine guidance, and we must always listen to that inner voice. We have to be true to the vision, and once the vision is clear, your path sort of opens up. So, despite all the challenges that come underway, and no matter what the naysayers might have to say, which might be contrary to your vision and goals, just prod on, and the path will emerge. It has to flow, and so very often in my journey, we have dealt with challenges of the patients, financial challenges, and done many things which people might feel is not in the paradigm of rehabilitation, like taking our patients out for picnics, taking them out to the malls and for movies.

For us, what is most important is the quality of their lives – bringing joy to the lives of persons who have been dealt with a severe blow, vis-a-vis their challenge, be it spinal cord injury or brain injury. So, through our programs and our events, we aim to empower their lives and fill them up with confidence, joy, and dignity. I think we have somewhere been true to our purpose.

You come across different patients on a regular basis. How do you stay positive and encourage them to not lose hope?

In the scope of our work, we have come to a far greater understanding of relations – particularly relationships within a family, because it makes us understand that in the face of a crisis, and particularly when the caregiver or the “provider” becomes “handicapped” and becomes the care seeker, the moment the roles are reversed and when the other partner realizes that this might be a lifelong challenge, then very soon, love is the first thing that flies out of the window and care follows soon after and the partner is ready to leave, the partner is ready to say – this was not a part of the bargain. And then, so a person who has an accident or an injury (Brain or Spine) is having to cope with their physical challenges, emotional challenges, mental challenges as well as financial challenges and in the face of all these challenges – he finds himself standing alone. This is where the need for an overdose of love, empathy and power is required.

Unfortunately, in this entire scenario, we find in our country still the worst affected is the girl child. Because for the male, the son of the family, the parents are still willing to support him.

But when it comes to the girl child, very often she is left to languish and if she is a wife, very often she is sent back to her parent’s home. Besides, in her own home, she sits at the side while the husband finds another wife for himself.

So, keeping the above points in mind, we see that when we have a firm conviction with love, empathy, support and skilled medical attention (We pride ourselves on having the best and most dedicated Rehab Team in the country), a person’s life can come around and our experience has proven that fact (80.4% of the patients Rehabilitated at Chandigarh Spinal Rehab have moved on to live productive lives). So, it is our inner conviction and positive approach which gets communicated to the vision.

Tell us a little about the day-to-day operations at Chandigarh Spinal Rehab?

Typically, the parameters of Quality Rehabilitation focuses on functional independence. At Chandigarh Spinal Rehab, we have added new dimensions. With a team of skilled and dedicated rehabilitation professionals, we maintain high standards of medical proficiency with evidence-based best practices.

We enhance the rehabilitation outcome by introducing active community interaction, a range of sports, adventure activities, and unique initiatives such as a musical band and travel to exotic places to enable persons undergoing rehabilitation explore new horizons and challenge belief-limiting patterns.

The success of our holistic approach to rehabilitation is the fact that 80.4 percent of persons rehabilitated at Chandigarh Spinal Rehab have moved on to lead lives of productivity, purpose, and socio- economic dignity.

I am deeply grateful to God, the passionate team, our partners, family, and friends for making Chandigarh Spinal Rehab a reality.

One final message on the occasion of International Day of Disabilities.

If you see a person with a disability, please do not pity him. Please do not call him a “bechara”. If you can do anything in your power to make her/his life a little better, do it for them, if you can do it, do it. If you cannot, just smile and say hi.

That’s okay. They don’t need to hate it.

The nation and every person with a disability needs to rise above the disability mentality.

The nation at large and every person with a disability needs to move beyond the disability factor and the bechara mentality. One must not promote the victim mentality.

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