Relaxing family outing at physio pool

Dunedin man Chris Rollo, who has cerebral palsy, spends time in the pool with his parents Graham...
Dunedin man Chris Rollo, who has cerebral palsy, spends time in the pool with his parents Graham and Joy. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
Chris Rollo is by no means the oldest swimmer at the physio pool, but having swum there for at least 25 years, he just might be its most loyal patron. Regular swims afford the 36-year-old a degree of freedom and movement otherwise denied to him by severe cerebral palsy.

Joy and Graham Rollo, of Dunedin, accompany their son in the water, the weekly swims a family outing from his residential care home. Mr Rollo cannot walk, talk, or feed or dress himself. He is braced into his wheelchair because he cannot support his own torso.''

It's very rigid; he's all braced into it with holds and straps.''

For 45 minutes, that one day a week, he's just floating and laughing with us,'' Mrs Rollo said.''

I could never do a survey on what it would be like if he hadn't had 25-plus years at the pool.''

Mr Rollo was a little drowsy during his swim on Monday, which the Otago Daily Times had been invited to photograph. It depended on the day - he was often bright and animated, Mrs Rollo said.''

Sometimes he just yahoos, despite such a huge disability.''

Some days he's wide awake the whole time.''

While he could not talk, her son could communicate likes and dislikes, and he loved swimming.

The Rollos use their own hoist to lift their son on to a table in the changing room. He is then placed in the pool's hoist and a pool assistant lowers him into the water. The family was grateful for the assistance from pool staff.

Mrs Rollo said her son's residential care home also co-ordinated a wide range of activities for him.


The Otago Therapeutic Pool Trust has been given another $100,000 boost, this time from The Healthcare Otago Charitable Trust.

Chairman Paul Moodie said the trust supported the region's health services, and the pool campaign was an ideal recipient.

''Fortunately, for most of us we don't need to use the pool - we're in a position where we don't require that at the moment.

''The wisdom for most of us is to invest in those things knowing that when you do need them they're there.

''We met as a board a couple of weeks ago and decided that that was a grant we'd like to make.''

It follows a grant of the same size from the Alexander McMillan Trust announced last Saturday.

Launched five weeks ago, the campaign aims to raise $1.5 million, of which $1 million was for capital upgrades.

The fundraising total is now more than $332,000.


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