REGINA – In 1984, Terri Sleeva was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis at age 28.
She didn’t know anything about MS, and one of the first things she learned was treatments were limited, “I went to the neurologist’s office. He said go buy yourself a cane. There’s nothing we can do for you, so you don’t have to come back here anymore.”
In 1999, she lost the use of her legs, her arms followed soon after.
Life as a quadriplegic was daunting.
Sleeva said “I used to be so independent… It just progressed to the point where I fell into pity parties.”
The disease forced her to rely on her family for everything, including basic tasks, like getting dressed, and eating.
One day, she’d had enough, “I finally decided I’m going to live my life, and do the best with what I’ve got.”
She started using a unique bike, the first of its kind in Saskatchewan.
It uses electrical pulses to cause muscle contractions, moving the pedals in a cyclical motion.
Wednesday marked only the fifth time Sleeva had used it, and already she was feeling its effects, “The muscles are starting to wake up again.”
Owen Carlson, the director of First Steps Wellness Centre, says there’s a number of benefits to using the bicycle. Especially for those that wouldn’t otherwise be able to move, “Increased circulation, muscle mass, bone density, decreased pressure sores, all the good things that come along with exercising.”
It was paid for by the First Steps Wellness Centre, the City of Regina, and SaskTel Pioneer fundraising.
Sleeva was grateful to the donors. She said, “I can never ever repay you guys, never ever.”
The appreciation wasn’t lost on Darrell Liebrecht, manager of the SaskTel Pioneers, “Makes me feel really great to be able to help people in the community that don’t have access to something like this.”
Between her arms and legs, Sleeva has travelled over 70 miles in the last week. Admittedly, she said she might be pushing it a little.
The excitement of seeing her limbs move hasn’t worn off yet, “It makes a world of difference. Positively, mentally, physically, because I’ve never felt better in my life.”
Her goal is to be able to feed herself again one day soon.