By Barbara Selemon, Fuerte Fitness Front Desk Attendant
Every time I walk into Fuerte Fitness and see the elliptical machine, I think of Barney Myer. Fran and Barney are good friends of mine who met while playing pickleball, were married on a pickleball court and own an online supply store. When both turned 60 years of age, they retired from their long time institutional jobs and planned to live half the year in Surprise, Arizona and half the year in the Seattle area, while conducting business from both locales.
Not long after they began on their new path in life, Barney was diagnosed with Progressive Supranatural Palsey (PSP). PSP is a neurodegenerative disease that causes loss of cognition, physical abilities and finally life. There is no cure. In a short time period , Barney has gone from being a top performer on the pickleball circuit to an invalid, requiring 24 hour care. Fran and Barney can no longer make the trip to and from Arizona, so they stay full time here in the Pacific Northwest.
Barney’s sight is nearly gone and he has balance problems that cause him to fall often, but every day of the year, Barney spends time on the elliptical. Barney’s elliptical is a main feature in Fran and Barney’s home in Kenmore, Washington and is set in a prominent spot in the dining-living room area near large wall to wall windows so that he has light coming in while he works out.
Besides working out on the elliptical for 30 minutes a day, Barney goes for a bike ride with his caregiver on the Burke Gilman trail in a large tricycle built for adults. To say the least, Barney’s legs are extremely strong. Fran told me that sadly, all the others that they met in the PSP support group are either no longer living or are in much worse shape than Barney. Barney is strong and disease-free except for PSP. Even though Barney is aware that there is no cure for his disease, he makes an effort to stay as fit as he possibly can. This amazes me that he has the motivation to exercise every day on the elliptical machine.
Barney is my inspiration to keep doing as much as I possibly can each and every day. I am always reminded of the gift of a healthy life when I see Barney and others out there making the best they can while facing extreme challenges in their lives.
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Living the good, fit life in Seattle, WA. Stay tuned for more bilingual fitness tips and nutritious recipes.