New Venture Puts Focus on Fitness for the Disabled

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A new fitness venture dedicated to people living with disabilities has officially launched in Emu Heights.

Boxability is a new boxing focused training regime designed specifically for those with any sort of disability including autism, brain injuries, genetic conditions, physical or mobility issues and neurological impairment.

And for founder, Penrith local and father of three Mark Steenholdt, the inspiration behind it is deeply personal.

“Just over two years ago, a week before his first birthday, my son Hudson underwent emergency open heart surgery,” he said.

“He survived but was left with an acquired brain injury as a result.”

Mr Steenholdt said the experience was traumatic for both him and his wife Kylie.

“Once Huddy came out of his induced coma, his memory was completely wiped, and he was back to being in a newborn state, he didn’t even recognise his sister or my wife and I. Not one thing about him was the same, not even his smile.

“He had to relearn everything and he’s still relearning. He’s also still suffering from all the effects that come from an acquired brain injury. Thankfully through his therapies, he’s made amazing progress in some areas and hopefully will continue to,” he said.

“The past couple of years have been a steep learning curve for us, I had never really appreciated or understood the immense level of support, time and dedication required to properly care for a loved one with a disability. It is enormous.”

Then, a year ago when Hudson first started doing dancing classes at The Heights Studio Mark saw firsthand how important physical activity, a sense of achievement and community was for his son’s quality of life.

“You can see the joy it sparks in his face, he absolutely loves it, seeing the difference in his ability when he first started and at the end of year concert brought me to tears,” he said.

“I was so proud, and so thankful to his teacher and the dance school for making that achievable for him.

“I also work as a part time disability carer and as part of that, used my boxing and personal training background to train a couple of young brothers Josh and Jacob McAndrew, both 22, who live with autism and developmental delay.

“Once again, the change in their outlook, the sense of achievement, pride and dedication was almost immediately obvious.”

Their mother Rebecca McAndrew said she noticed the positive changes in her sons almost instantly.

“They absolutely love training with Mark, they show me their growing muscles, have taken up healthier habits and are always ready an hour before the weekly sessions,” she said.

“Honestly there is nothing like this that is readily available for the local disabled community, we have been crying out for it and it will help people like my boys so very much.

Ultimately Mr Steenholdt hopes to build enough support for the new business to offer employment opportunities to his clientele.

“I’d really like to be able to create a judgement free, safe, and inclusive space for the local disabled community and ultimately improve their quality of life.

Boxability classes currently run through the week at The Heights Dance Studio in Emu Heights. Classes are open to the public and disability organisations can also make private bookings at a day and time suitable for their group.

Visit www.boxability.com.au, follow the Facebook page or contact Mark directly on 0402 892726 for more information.

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