Not too long ago, the idea of enjoying a physical activity she loved every day was something Army Private First Class Heather Kready could not even dream about. In 2006, while serving in Afghanistan, Heather was moving medical equipment across a bridge when she fell, causing the heavy items to fall on top of her. Her injury progressed over the years to the point where she is partially paralyzed from the waist down.
Not wanting to worry her children, Heather refrained from doing any activity that may cause further injury. “I was locked between my bed and a couch,” she says.
When Heather was accepted into the Homes For Our Troops program, her desire to be active increased. Knowing she would soon be living in an HFOT home adapted to her injuries, she felt confident to take on a new challenge. While exploring exercises she could do with her injury, Heather heard about aerial yoga, a sport that combines traditional yoga poses, Pilates, and dance with the use of a hammock. For the past year, Heather has made incredible progress by practicing daily and also working with a trainer. “In the swing you don’t feel your weight on your joints and you’re semi-weightless,” she says.
Heather has gained muscle tone and her pain has decreased. The movements strengthen her spine by contracting and rehydrating the discs, and she is now able to walk short distances with the assistance of a cane. “If HFOT wasn’t building me a specially adapted custom home, I would not have been able to push myself this far because I would be worrying about getting hurt and my kids having to take care of me,” she says.
Homes For Our Troops will present Heather with the keys to her home in Georgia on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018. She says she is grateful to HFOT’s donors and supporters for making this a reality. “There aren’t words to describe what this all means to me and my children’s lives.”
Learn more about Heather’s story at www.hfotusa.org/kready.