Joint Effort walk is her motivation

Eileen Rawlings wants to "give something back" after receiving hip replacements following years...
Eileen Rawlings wants to "give something back" after receiving hip replacements following years of excruciating pain. Photo by Sarah Marquet.
Tell Eileen Rawlings, a double hip replacement recipient, she will not be able to do something and she will make sure she proves you wrong.

So when challenged to join in Joint Effort, a fundraising walk in Dunedin this weekend, she thought it was something she had to do, despite not being able to get to Dunedin.

Instead, she will walk 1km through her home town of Alexandra, with help from her Probus Club friends.

Though she needs a walking frame to walk longer distances and usually uses a walking stick to walk to her letter box, she intends to complete as much of the 1km as possible without either implement.

About five years ago, she began suffering from hip pain, which became "worse and worse and worse" until it was so great she did not want to move.

In August 2010, she had her left hip replaced, then, four months later, on her 88th birthday, she had her right hip replaced.

"I had the miracle of it [hip replacement], so why can't I do something to help them?"

She said the only regret she had about not being able to do the walk in Dunedin was that she would not meet up with her surgeon, Prof Jean-Claude Theis, and show him what she could now do.

The fundraising walk, organised by Dunedin orthopaedic surgeons, is to raise money for the Wishbone Trust, which supports orthopaedic research.

Organising committee chairman Michael Chin, of Dunedin, said anyone who had had a joint replacement was invited to take part. Similar walks would take place around New Zealand.

In the past 12 years, the Otago event had raised over $85,000, with about $50,000 going to Otago-based orthopaedic researchers.

Mr Chin said there were about 500 hip replacements done in Otago in 2010, about 350 knee replacements and about 30 shoulder replacements.

"It's fantastic. It's very rewarding to see people up and walking again [after joint replacements]. We don't save lives but we make them better."

The Joint Effort walk will be held on Sunday from 2pm at King's High School, Dunedin.



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