heumatoid arthritis isn’t keeping Isabella (Izzy) Potsick, 13, from experiencing school, friends and life to its fullest. Her joints are on notice that Easterseals aquatherapy program is her unsinkable partner in helping her overcome the joint inflammation and stiffness that accompanies the disease.
In return for Izzy’s hard work, she’s gained flexibility, range of motion and a great family friend.
Izzy and her mom Janet rave about the aquatherapy program at Easterseals of Northeast Central Florida. Once a week for three years, the duo has visited therapist Shannon Garcia, PTA, for a half-hour of stretching, massage and pool exercises. The family has tried other programs in the past, but nothing compares to the results Izzy experiences from aquatherapy.
“Especially when Izzy’s muscles are so tight, Shannon tries to get them stretched out for her,” said Janet. “It makes a huge difference for Izzy and helps her through the rest of the week. Shannon is amazing,” said Janet.
“We do a lot of stretching and sometimes she massages my foot muscles and legs so they aren’t as stiff,” said Izzy. “I also do some special walks like the ‘toy soldier’ walk to get my joints moving. I do heel-to-toe walks, kneeling, kicking, and stuff like that, too.
“Every time I get out (of the pool), I feel a difference. Shannon does a great job getting my muscles loose,” Izzy added.
“Easterseals has been more helpful than any other place has been to us in terms of Izzy’s condition; it’s the only place we can come that’s even close to our house for us to get aquatherapy,” said Janet. “Easterseals has gone above and beyond even what Izzy’s doctor’s office has done for us. They’ve offered us more resources and helped more than anybody else.”
Janet advises parents to explore Easterseals’ offerings.
“It can be very overwhelming when you get a diagnosis for your child and you don’t always know who to talk to,” she said. “I would definitely say if somebody has a child with an issue that Easterseals is a great way to get them some help and find out what’s offered.
“Easterseals has provided us with an awesome amount of resources and has been very helpful in knowing what to do with Izzy and what therapy to put her in,” added Janet. “They make you feel like you can advocate for your child.”
When not working hard in Easterseals aquatherapy sessions, Izzy is loving school – science and Latin, in particular – as well as drawing, crafting and making stop-motion videos. She’s anticipating adding the April 26 Walk With Me to her social calendar, too.
Said Izzy: “I’m excited to be an Easterseals ambassador and do Walk With Me. I’m so happy.”
The Potsick family is thrilled to be part of the 2019 Honorary Ambassadors program. Join them for Walk With Me on April 26 in Daytona Beach. Join their team, register to walk or donate at www.walkwithme.org/daytona.