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In 2013, Ruth thought she had pneumonia. It turned out that it wasn’t pneumonia, but that she needed open heart surgery. The surgery itself was a huge wake up call for her. After her surgery, Ruth was referred to Memorial’s Cardiac Rehabilitation located in the same building as the Gus and Flora Kerasotes YMCA. This program allows cardiac patients to be monitored by a nurse while growing stronger using the fitness equipment within the YMCA. She worked with Grace, a nurse with Memorial’s Cardiac Rehabilitation program, to rebuild her strength. Despite her hard work, she was still having issues with balance and coordination.

Grace felt Ruth could benefit from the services provided at Memorial SportsCare. As luck would have it, Memorial SportsCare is also located in the same building as the Gus and Flora Kerasotes YMCA. Ruth continued her journey with Josh at Memorial’s SportsCare and it was there that she saw really big changes in her life. Josh challenged her to work hard and get stronger. The therapy not only made her physically stronger, but increased her confidence. She had been using a cane (which she affectionately calls Ethel) for the past three years and felt that she would never get rid of it. Josh was confident she would eventually walk without it. He challenged her to leave “Ethel” in the lobby and walk in unassisted. This was terrifying to her, but she trusted Josh. Now, she leaves “Ethel” at home and is so excited about the independence she has gained.

Her husband is a heart patient as well, and he is the motivation for her to get to the Y three times a week. They spend about four hours at the Y using the different equipment. Ruth likes to use the elliptical machine and the NuStep Recumbent Trainer. She admits she doesn’t love working out, but she knows the exercise is so important and has given her the freedom, the coordination, and the confidence to be able to do so much more in her life.
Ruth is looking forward to the Springfield Heart Walk that will take place on May 14th at Lincoln Park. She is excited about being able to participate in the walk without her cane. In September, she and her husband are taking a trip to the Smokey Mountains. She said her goal is to go hiking with no walking aids. She can’t wait to say she did it. She radiates pride with the accomplishments she has attained. She looks and feels great!

By, Lynn