To kick off Client Appreciation Month at Propel Physiotherapy, we wanted to take the opportunity to highlight the rehabilitation journey of some of our clients. As our clients get back to what they love doing and persevere through setbacks, they inspire us to continue learning and growing towards our mission of being the best at what we do.

You will meet four exceptional humans: Chris and Heather from our Etobicoke clinic; Harvey from our Peterborough clinic; and Nina from our Pickering clinic. Their personal stories highlight where they started in their rehabilitation journeys, and their progress to date, including the hard work they have put in to get here! We couldn’t be more proud of them.

Table of Contents

Etobicoke Clients Spotlight

Meet Chris:

Chris experienced a stroke in 2021 at the age of 48. Following the stroke, he was unable to use his left arm for daily tasks. He had a reduced range of motion, spasming of muscles in the elbow and hand muscles which was impacting his ability to reach and grasp.

For his lower body, he had reduced range of motion and strength in his left leg due to decreased sensation, along with decreased balance which would make him at risk of falls. He also used a rollator walker for outdoor walking and a cane for most indoor walking.

For the past year, he has been working hard with both our physiotherapist Nick Li, and occupational therapist Ana Gollega. His goals while working with Ana were to open his hand to hold a bottle of water and play the guitar. Chris’s OT treatment plan primarily focuses on reducing pain in the left shoulder, facilitating active range of motion through the shoulder and improving his motor control of the arm. Botox injections and splinting helped manage the muscle spasms in his arm as a result of the stroke.

Use of a Saebo Glove also helped to facilitate the opening of the fingers and work on grasping and releasing objects. Exercises can be done with the Saebo Glove and other therapies, which helped him improve his hand function.

His goals while working with Nick were to improve his walking pattern and improve his balance which could reduce his risk of falls. His PT treatment plan includes manual stimulation of the left foot and assisted stretching of the left leg. Progressive core and balance training also help improve the sensation, range of motion, strength, and balance in the left leg.

Additionally, incremental goals were set up for Chris to help him work on improving his left arm on a weekly basis. First trying to touch the elbow of the opposite arm with the affected hand, followed by reaching for the mid- upper arm, and then reaching to turn on a light switch or open a door.

Etobicoke client Chris in rehabilitation with Nick Li, registered physiotherapist and Ana Gollega, occupational therapist.

Chris is now also able to place his hands on a bottle of water! Furthermore, he is able to walk short distances independently in his home and feels more confident with using his cane or rollator walker less.

He is also able to continue walking on the treadmill at home to improve his walking pattern. Although he cannot play the guitar yet, he is dedicated to achieving his goals and having some fun playing his music. His motivation to get better and dedication to his rehab has brought him far in his recovery in the last year.

Keep up the great work Chris!

Meet Heather:

Heather was diagnosed with Guillain Barré Syndrome (GBS) in 2021. GBS is an autoimmune disorder where the body’s immune system attacks its nerves. It resulted in her having weakness and tingling into her legs and arms. This eventually spread and led to complete paralysis in her legs and arms.

She was initially admitted to the ICU and had to be intubated and sedated. As she began to wean off the ventilator during the day, she began her rehabilitation to regain her function. She had the opportunity to receive rehabilitation from The Salvation Army Toronto Grace Health Centre for low-intensity, long duration rehab.

When Heather was no longer seeing improvements, she was then transferred to the Post Acute Care Rehabilitation Program. This provided her high-tolerance, short duration rehabilitation. After being discharged from rehab in January 2022, she began working with one of our physiotherapists, Andres Abuhadba-Rodriguez, in February.

Initially, she alternated between use of a walker or cane for walking and had reduced balance. Treatments for Heather included strengthening the lower body, improving her arm range of motion and working on her balance. Heather’s long-term goals were to get back to horseback-riding and be able to take her dog out for walks, as these were two things she enjoyed doing in her free time.

Since her time here at Propel, Heather is now able to walk without any gait aids while  wearing a brace on her foot to help with her walking. She has progressed to the point that she is able to get on her horse and go horseback riding!

She continues to work with Andres on lower body strengthening and higher-level balance activities in order to help her walk with more confidence. We are proud of how far Heather has come in her recovery!

Peterborough Client Spotlight

Meet Harvey

Harvey experienced a stroke in October of 2021 at the age of 49. The stroke resulted in him being blind in the left eye and paralyzed in the left arm and leg. Unfortunately, Harvey never received any rehabilitation treatment while in hospital because the team felt his recovery potential was limited given the severity of his injuries. Harvey was discharged from the hospital in December 2021 and lives with his sister.

Since March 2022, Harvey has been working with one of our physiotherapists, David Friesen. Due to his mobility issues and impairments from the stroke, Dave travels to Harvey for in-home sessions.

Initially he had very limited arm movement and shoulder pain when he tried to move his arm. He also had limited movement in his left hip, knee and ankle. Daily tasks such as rolling around in bed were difficult. As a result, he required a hoyer lift for transferring between the wheelchair and his bed. His low back pain limited his ability to sit in his wheelchair for long periods of time.

Harvey’s physiotherapy treatment included activities and exercises that facilitate movements for the upper and lower extremities and trunk, bed mobility practice, lower extremity strengthening and weight bearing exercises.

Dave also used devices such as a standing frame to help improve his ability to stand. Currently, Harvey has significantly less pain in his back, left leg and left arm. He is able to roll to both sides of his bed independently. He can also now sit at the edge of his bed independently and can stand with supervision and with the help of his right hand. Recently, he has even been able to take small steps going forward and backwards with the right leg using a high-wheeled walker!

Peterborough client Harvey in rehabilitation at home with David Friesen, registered physiotherapist.

Harvey has said that having a physiotherapist that is pushing him has been life-changing. Because he was told he would not be able to make much progress when he was in the hospital, he is proud of the progress he has made. “I find I have so much more motivation and hope following his physiotherapy sessions,” says Harvey.

“This client has been amazing to work with due to his willingness to work very hard during our sessions (despite ongoing pain), try new activities, and trust in the rehab process. I’ve never seen a client consistently go through as many functional changes during my time with them, and I believe that we will continue to see many more changes as we work together,” says Dave.

Pickering Client Spotlight

Meet Nina

Nina experienced years of chronic low back pain and sciatic nerve pain that affected her walking, participation at home (with chores and playing with her children) and at work. After having  surgery she  was unable to walk more than  household distances with her walker.

She was diagnosed with cauda equina syndrome, Nina underwent discectomy and laminectomy surgery. After surgery, Nina had difficulties weight bearing on both feet due to limited sensation. She was unable to go up and down the stairs, and unable to sit and stand for more than 10 minutes at a time.

Balance during ambulation was difficult. She was also unable to drive due to the weakness in her plantar flexors (calve muscles and difficulties with proprioception (sense of position) into the plantarflexion (foot down) and dorsiflexion (foot up) positions.

Since starting in-home physiotherapy with one of our physiotherapist Reggie Ragos eight months ago, Nina is now walking for more than 30-40 minutes at a much faster pace after. Nina is also now starting to attempt hikes and complete walks that have more inclines.

She is able to sit on the floor and play with her children, returning to previous activities such as Tai Chi, and drawing while sitting for a long period of time. Nina is now driving and attending in-clinic sessions to work on more complex balance tasks.

Given her improvements, Nina’s next goal is to go back to her job as a librarian and return to completing longer hikes! You can do it Nina!

Google Review from Nina:

In October 2022 I had emergency spinal decompression surgery. After the surgery, I had limited mobility, nerve damage and trauma. I needed physiotherapy.  More specifically, I needed a physiotherapist who was willing to take on the challenge.

After extensive research, calling many clinics and not finding a good match, I was lucky enough to find Propel Physiotherapy and signed on to work with Reggie.

Reggie (physiotherapist) met me where I was, physically, mentally, and emotionally. He reviewed my medical documents and answered all my questions. Reggie asked me what my recovery goals were. He then gave me targeted exercises to get me started. In each session, I gradually gained more confidence in myself, and my recovery.

Each week, Reggie modified the exercises to my level of confidence, strength and mobility. I felt reassured that Reggie had both the expertise, and kindness to guide me towards my goals.

After a few months of working with Reggie, he recommended I also start treatment with Mahindra (massage therapist). Mahindra is a gifted professional. After each treatment I felt my body more at ease and my movements smoother.

In the 8 months I’ve worked with Reggie, and 4 months with Mahindra, I progressed from being housebound, unable to do daily chores and used a walker for assistance, to where I am now. I am now walking fully unassisted, driving, making family meals and hiking in the woods.  I’ve regained my mobility and independence; I now have hope for a full recovery. For this, I am deeply grateful.

I highly recommend the skilled, and compassionate professionals at Propel Physiotherapy; Reggie, Mahindra and admin staff Elizabeth and Caitlin.

Written by

Sandra Al Ali
Sandra Al AliRegistered Physiotherapist
Sandra Al Ali is passionate about working collaboratively with patients to help them return to doing the things they love. She takes an active and evidence-approach to treatment and tailors her approach based on the individual.
Nick Li
Nick LiRegistered Physiotherapist
Nick Li is passionate about helping his clients find the right motivation to help them reach above and beyond their goals. His approachable personality allows clients to feel comfortable expressing concerns regarding their conditions. He coaches his clients towards self-management by empowering them with knowledge.



1 Eva Rd., Suite 107
Etobicoke, ON, M9C 4Z5


Monday 8:00 – 7:00
Tuesday 8:00 – 7:00
Wednesday 8:00 – 7:00
Thursday 8:00 – 7:00
Friday 8:00 – 7:00
Saturday 8:00 – 12:30

visit the Propel Physiotherapy Etobicoke location page for more info


1099 Kingston Rd., Suite 5A
Pickering, ON, L1V 1B5


Monday 8:30 – 7:00
Tuesday 8:30 – 7:00
Wednesday 9:00 – 6:00
Thursday 8:30 – 7:00
Friday 8:30 – 7:00
Saturday 8:00 – 12:30

visit the Propel Physiotherapy Pickering location page for more info


1600 Lansdowne St. W., Unit 9,
Peterborough, Ontario, K9J 7C7

mobile services for Peterborough & surrounding areas


Monday 8:00 – 7:00
Tuesday 8:00 – 7:00
Wednesday 8:00 – 7:00
Thursday 8:00 – 7:00
Friday 8:00 – 7:00
Saturday 9:00 – 1:00

visit the Propel Physiotherapy Peterborough location page for more info