Due to a severe staph infection, Gerry Prince lost his ability to walk. But that didn’t stop him – through his faith and exercise routine, he’s walking again.
By Gerry Prince
At first glance, I look like your typical 69-year-old man. I’m active in my community and I seek to be faithful in my daily walk with God. I enjoy spending time with family and I’m in overall good health. What most people don’t know however is how I got to where I am today.
In 2005, I had both knees replaced. And in 2007, a severe staph infection ravaged my body and forced me to have both knees removed. My doctors were surprised that I’d survived at all and told me I’d never walk again.
In 2009, I learned to drive a car with hand controls and began to go to The Commons of Evergreen, an active living community center for adults 50+ in my hometown of Holland, Michigan. It was there that I first noticed a NuStep seated recumbent cross-trainer exercise machine that ultimately transformed my life.
Conventional treadmills and elliptical machines were simply out of the question because I couldn’t put my weight on my legs. This machine was different. It worked your upper and lower body at the same time, which allowed me to completely isolate my arms, chest and shoulders and use the strength of my upper body to activate my legs.
After about two or three months, I was able to start moving my legs again! I decided right then and there that I was going to do everything in my power, and with God’s help, to see if I could someday walk again.
Shortly thereafter, I went to see my doctor for a check-up and reminded him that he told me I would never walk again. After he looked at my chart, I moved my legs in a bicycle motion. I’ll never forget the look on his face – his mouth dropped completely open and he said, “That doesn’t normally happen!”
After that day, I’ve kept working out on the cross-trainer and I can now walk with a walker.
To tell the truth I’m not sure if I will ever be able to walk without my walker, but I do know that if I stop exercising, I will never walk again. And that’s motivation enough for me to keep going.
My journey is a testament to the power of exercise and importance of community, both of which I found at The Commons of Evergreen. Of course, there are plenty of health outcomes beyond our control, but my experience has taught me there are ways you can regain control of your life and restore your independence. Little changes, such as eating healthy, maintaining a positive attitude and exercising regularly, can go a long way.
In short, life doesn’t end because of something that happens to you, it’s what you make of it afterwards. So don’t wait another day to get started on your journey to health and wellness. We all have the power to be our own miracles. Just never give up.
About the author
Gerry Prince is a loving father of 4 children and 9 grandchildren. Previous employment included Sales and Professional Truck Driver. He visits The Commons of Evergreen every day to catch up with friends, meet new people and use the NuStep recumbent cross-trainer to continue to improve his physical fitness. .