THREE years ago, Gwynn Erasmus didn’t think he’d walk again.
He’d been working as a chef on the mines up north and went to bed feeling fine, but woke up unable to stand, with swollen red feet and in immense pain.
From February 2014, he spent a great deal of time in hospital undergoing tests, with an eventual diagnosis of rare disorder erythromelalgia.
Mr Erasmus ended up losing his rental property and his car while unable to work, and was told he would be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
“After I left the hospital, I had nowhere to stay, and the Salvation Army took me in at the Beacon in East Perth,” he said.
“I was going to the physio at Royal Perth Hospital, and he turned around and said there’s nothing else I can do for you.
“I felt really bad, really down; I didn’t know what to do.”
That’s when Mr Erasmus started going to Homeless Healthcare, where he met West Leederville-based Wellbeing Physiotherapy specialist Kevin Lau in February 2015.
“One of the doctors working there referred Gwynn to see me, and said it would be a bit of a challenge,” said Mr Lau.
“I’d never heard about that diagnosis in my life.”
Mr Lau tried one thing then another, with both men closely looking out for any change.
Then, a breakthrough; by the sixth session together, Mr Erasmus could feel a very slight improvement.
By June, he was starting to take steps.
“I still remember the day he walked in the clinic, I couldn’t help but burst into tears,” Mr Lau said.
“I can never forget the smile on his face.
“This is the highlight of my professional career; it’s the best reward you can ever get.”
Mr Lau said linking the body to the mind has been key to own physiotherapy practice.
“I can use my experience not just to give him physical support, but psychological support,” he said.
“Just treating physical pain isn’t treating the person as a whole.”
During his time with Mr Lau, Mr Erasmus has enrolled in further education at bible college, which he felt greatly supported him through the process, moved house, and gotten married.
As for his next plans?
He’s hitting the road once he finishes his study.
“I’m planning on going to India for six months to a year with my family,” Mr Erasmus said.