I think it all started with a phone call from Vanessa. She introduced herself as a newcomer to town, an exercise therapist, who was interested in starting a fitness class for people with chronic diseases, and would I be interested? I’m not sure how she knew about me, but her timing was perfect. Having lived with Parkinson’s disease for over 10 years, I was becoming more and more determined to keep my muscles from getting stiff, and I was trying to do a bit of walking up and down the halls of the senior residence where I live. At 79 years of age I knew that I didn’t have a great deal of time to play around with, so I decided to sign up for her class and see what would happen. I had already started tallying up my laps on my own, , and marking them on a chart to represent a virtual walk along the #1 Highway, and any chance to add to the distance was welcome. When the February Fitness Challenge came along last year, I continued my walking, and at the end of the month decided to continue on to see how far I could get by December 31. (I almost reached Austin, Manitoba.) [Editor’s note: that was 210km, FYI].

In September 2016 I went to Vanessa’s first class, along with four others. After 15 minutes of warm-up and stretching exercises, Vanessa said, “Okay. Now it’s walk time. You have 30 minutes.” I was stunned. I was expecting a whole hour of exercises that would perform a miracle on me and my muscles. But as I walked, leaning heavily on my walker, I noticed that Vanessa took turns accompanying us and talking to us individually about our needs, hopes and desires. I think I did about 10 laps that day. When the walk time was over, we had 15 minutes of squats and cooldown exercises, and that was it. I had a little rest when I got home, and decided I’d go back again, just to see if it would be any different the next time. Besides, I really enjoyed the camaraderie of the group.

…continued Wednesday
2 thought on “Day 13: Marilyn’s Story – Part 1”
  1. Great Work! And a real motivational story – thank you for your inspiration!!! Mac and Casey are very proud of their gram-jam!

  2. K, that's pretty awesome!!! I personally don't know many people my age who can say their grandma is able to do all that you're doing grandma!! I'm SUPER proud of you, how far you've come, and all of your determination. Keep up the great work grandma! 😀

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