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Dan Has a Dream

I met Dan a few weeks ago to begin a water aerobics personal training session. Patti, his eldest daughter and a friend of mine, had called me with her private training request.

I always ask my clients to create a goal: his wish was to go to his summer home on an island off of the state of Washington to see the memorial that he had made for his late wife. His girls were determined to help him achieve that wish.

At our first meeting, I met a man hunched over in a wheelchair, weak, shaky — and while he still had a sense of humor, he looked as if he had given up. It was heartbreaking.

His attendant and I struggled to get him from his wheelchair, up four stairs to the pool deck, back in the chair to the pool’s edge, and then into the pool. Once he was in the water, he lost his balance numerous times. He clung to the wall with two white-knuckled hands and could barely lift his head to look at the beautiful trees that surround the pool area.

But he persisted.

Each session saw remarkable improvement. By the fourth session he could walk with one hand on the Styrofoam noodle and one on the wall. By the sixth session he let go of the wall and held on to the noodle. At the eighth session he stood tall catching and throwing a ball with me. This week we played ball, walked without using any noodle, and I added hydro bell hand toys for extra resistance as we cruised around the pool walking forwards, backwards, and sideways.

We didn’t do anything magical, but he made a decision to try. The transformation in this man’s spirit was miraculous because he chose to live. He no longer uses a wheelchair and only uses a walker outside the house.

He has regained his freedom, his dignity and next week he regains his dream of seeing his wife’s memorial. I’m going to venture to say that it will not be the last time because now Dan is ready to live.

Do you know someone who needs some love and extra attention? Please call me and let’s help them! Go to our webpage to get information about attending classes in the Riverside area. Go to to purchase videos that you can stream and use at your own pool.

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