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R.I.P  Our Superstar - May Pitt - 24/09/28 to 27/10/16


It is with great sadness we advise of the passing of Maybelle Pitt who passed away recently after a short illness.  May was still attending to her physio and hydrotherapy 10 days prior to her passing and succumbed to an ailing heart and lungs whilst in Lake Macquarie Private.  We will miss her witty conversation, sassy demeanour and caring personality.  Her many pool friends are saddened by her passing, but she will live on larger than life in our memory.  She was the poster girl to what you could do if you put your heart and soul into it and many people would do well to follow in her footsteps and be inspired by her story below.


Newcastle Aquatic Physiotherapy has a wide and varied clientele base, but they all have one common denominator and that is, a physical problem or disability of some description.  Some patients come in, receive their therapy and go off on their merry way.  Others, like May Pitt, have been coming to our practice for many years and we have witnessed an amazing transformation along the way.  This is May’s story of how she beat the odds and has inspired so many of us along the way.


May first presented to our practice over 12 years ago when she was 74 and we were still located at the Hunter Valley Private Hospital.  She was wheelchair bound and living in an Aged Care Facility after a back operation had rendered her unable to walk or look after herself independently, she was basically paraplegic.  May had been living at the Aged Care Facility, in high care, for 14 months when we met her after an incident playing wheelchair bowls, where she fell but was certain she had felt something in her legs and feet.  She convinced her Doctor of the same, so he referred her to our practice to trial some hydrotherapy.  May’s goal as she told us, was to walk out of that nursing home.


May needed to transfer from her wheelchair to our pool hoist to access the pool, but once she was in, she worked very hard on standing, walking and her balance.  She also worked tirelessly at home on her land based exercises and it wasn’t too long at all before she was able to progress to a walking frame and get out of her wheel chair.  May still used the pool twice a week, but she also worked with her Physio in the rooms to gradually start using a quad stick to walk for balance instead of the walking frame.  She just would not give up and the problem for the physios was not getting her to do her exercise, but instead they had to try and hold her back to ensure she did not injure herself, such is her strength and desire to succeed.  She had also improved so much that they moved her to low care at the home.


Sure enough, in 2007, May Pitt surprised her Doctors and walked out of that nursing home and into her own unit back in Swansea close to her friends.  Her visits to Physio twice weekly see her riding a recumbent cycle for 20 minutes or so, walking on a treadmill unaided and completing her hydrotherapy program independently.  The physios treat whatever is hurting the most each visit, be it her back or legs and it has to be a fairly major illness or an appointment elsewhere for her to cancel her therapy. 


May is now 84 years old.  She still lives independently, bought her first computer 2 years ago and is writing short stories, emailing friends and family and just recently joined Facebook to keep tabs on the Grandkids.  She has a motorised scooter to travel longer distances to run errands, shop for groceries or go to the local club to play bingo with the girls (and maybe have a sneaky beer while she is there). May and her friend Joy, whom she met at hydrotherapy, took themselves on a cruise 2 years ago and they had the time of their lives – I think they gave us the censored version to be quite honest.   May has made quite a few friends in the pool over the years and is the organiser of the annual hydrotherapy Christmas party, now in its 4th year.


May says she still keeps her wheelchair charged “just in case” but hopes she won’t have to use it for many years to come.  She is an inspiration to not only the staff at Newcastle Aquatic Physiotherapy, but to everyone who meets her along the way.  We feel May is the epitome of what you can do if you put your mind to it and the motto “never, ever, ever, give up” describes her to a tee.  We are so proud to be associated with her and to have been able to assist her on her inspirational journey.