Brenda Kelleher Inspires What’s Possible. Like Aikido from a Wheelchair!

FollowFollow on FacebookFollow on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterFollow on LinkedInFollow on TumblrPin on Pinterest

Please do not let a disability stop you from doing anything because everything is possible.  I have skydived 5 times,  gone scuba diving, and I ski when I have the money. I also play Table tennis and have a gold medal in it. I’ve done Archery for 3 years in Switzerland!

–Brenda Kelleher

I had the great fortune to speak with Brenda Kelleher about her enthusiasm for the Japanese Martial Art, Aikido and many other things including her passion for helping others.  Brenda has many stories and has encountered much adversity.  It was over 30 years ago that she was left paralyzed from the waist down when the father of her 5 children threw her out a window 40 ft from the ground.

Tough to imagine, right?

I think her courage might inspire others who work in rehab and or who face challenging limitations.  Here she is getting ready to flip Sensei Aaron Cass at Portsmouth Aikido during a practice session.  She explained that he adapts his teaching for her by trying out moves in a wheelchair.  The whole community at Portsmouth Aikido is supportive.

“One time the lift was broken and they carried me up so I could attend the session”, Kelleher shares.

We also talked about challenges she’s faced traveling with a disability and healthcare USA, She was excited to explain how some limited walking with braces might be possible through intense physical therapy and customized braces.  She had been on the parallel bars earlier in the day.

Her arms are VERY strong.

Brenda is very committed to her work in PT but worries that insurance won’t cover the extensive visits necessary to help her succeed.  Sad to think that the only thing that might stand in the way of her walking might be a lack of insurance coverage.

What we can do in healthcare USA is exciting. What doesn’t get covered is frustrating and at times, tragic!

To her credit, this doesn’t seem to diminish Brenda’s enthusiasm for any of her endeavors.  She will continue to do what she can.


And in any case, looks like Sensei Aaron Cass is a great teacher and Brenda Kelleher is a very capable student!



Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Communication in Healthcare, Complexity in nursing, Diversity, Healthy Workplaces, Patient Advocacy and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Brenda Kelleher Inspires What’s Possible. Like Aikido from a Wheelchair!

  1. judyringer says:

    Thank you, Beth, for highlighting someone I greatly admire for her commitment and courage. I have practiced Aikido with Brenda, and I’ve learned a lot for her. She’s a teacher for many of us at Portsmoith Aikido.

What are your thoughts?