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My Oulu: The power and joy of fishing – watch the video


Fishing is a meaningful activity for Hannu Kelahaara.

Hannu Kelahaara was diagnosed with a neurological disease in 2017. The disease affects his movement and speech.

Kelahaara benefits greatly from continuing with activities that he enjoyed before getting the diagnose.

“I’ve been fishing since I was a child. It’s not the same. But it’s very important to carry on. It’s great," he tells.

Kelahaara goes fishing once a week with his occupational therapist Sanni Jörgensen.

“When people can do things that are meaningful to them, that’s the most important thing to keep you also mentally healthy. Fishing is the most meaningful occupation to him," Jörgensen says.

More accessible places are needed

The city of Oulu has built accessible fishing decks that have helped improve wheelchair users’ quality of life. But there’s room for improvement.

“Like Hannu says, there could be more places, for example, platforms where you can fish in a wheelchair. The only place is in Kuusisaari where we have a long deck," says Jörgensen.

In Hannu’s case, fishing is also part of his treatment.

“We have goals for the therapy. We’re not just doing it for fun. Hannu can keep up with his movement and use his hands. That’s the point. We do things so you can feel that you’re a whole person. You can do the things you want and feel happy about that.”

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