From left to right (clockwise). Vivien Cohen, Joan Walker, Marilyn Freedman, Catherine Patla, Stanley Paris, Sue Keays, Karin Saltman, Hazel Dreyer

50 years and counting!

A group of physical therapists celebrated a special anniversary at WCPT2019 in Geneva – the 50th anniversary of their graduation from the University of Witwatersrand, in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Hazel Dreyer (now living in Boston, USA), Karin Saltman (now living in Sydney, Australia), Sue Keays (now living in Brisbane, Australia), Vivien Cohen (now living in Toronto, Canada), and Marilyn Freedman (now living in New York, USA) met up with their former teacher and mentor Joan Walker (now living in Halifax, Nova Scotia).

Sue said: ‘For our group, WCPT congress has, for many years, been not only  a vibrant and stimulating  opportunity for learning. It has been the platform where, to quote  WCPT President Emma Stokes, 'we reconnect, we share, we laugh, we dine and we celebrate lasting friendships.'  Thank you WCPT.’

Stanley Paris and Catherine Patla were the guests of honour at a celebration dinner in Geneva.

Stanley said: ‘For Joan and I it isn’t enough to teach but it’s incumbent on us as leaders to ensure that we mentor the next generation of physical therapists.'

The 12 physical therapists who graduated from the class of 1969 were taught and mentored by Joan during the four years she lived in South Africa. Three of the former classmates met up in Cape Town in 2017, and previous meet-ups have included WCPT congresses in Amsterdam in 2011, Vancouver in 2007, Barcelona in 2003, and Washington in 1995.

The group are already planning for their next reunion – in Dubai for WCPT Congress 2021.