ALTOONA, PA – AETNA
THE GROOVE FITNESS STUDIO – ALTOONA
After dedicating most of her life to taking care of her severely intellectually disabled daughter, Rita Yetsko was diagnosed with dementia in 2021 and her health steadily began to decline. After some coaxing from her daughters, she started attending Zumba classes at the Groove last year. One daughter says Rita’s transformation has “been nothing short of miraculous. She is back to the fun-loving, vibrant person” her daughters remember. Rita is now eager to go to class, even encouraging her daughter and other family members, to take her and stay to dance. Where Rita was declining mentally during the pandemic and after her diagnosis, now she has “blossomed and is a social butterfly, friends with everyone and a smile on her face.” Rita will be 88 this fall, and not slowing down anytime soon. She is an inspiration to anyone who tries to keep up with her on the dance floor.
CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR 2023 MEMBER OF THE YEAR FINALISTS!
Kansas City, MO – Wellcare
Fatimah Abdullah fractured her foot in June 2022 but counts it as a blessing as that’s when she found SilverSneakers LIVE classes. She began with exercises her foot specialist recommended, then was able to advance to what she wanted to do. She was eventually released from her doctor’s care because she had healed and was doing so well. Since she has been a SilverSneakers member, Fatimah has made exercise a regular habit, whether at home or when visiting her daughters. Traveling to a location is difficult, but with at-home classes, Fatimah is still able to stick to her exercise routine. She’s not going to let anything stand in her way of staying active and living the life she wants. She says, “SilverSneakers changed my life in so many positive ways.”
Orlando, FL – Florida Blue
Janice Aikens says SilverSneakers has changed her life through body, mind and soul over the last two years. She participates in SilverSneakers LIVE classes and has been able to step out of her comfort zone to explore new possibilities. Janice says she would not be where she is on her fitness journey if it weren’t for the guidance and support she has received from the SilverSneakers National Trainer team. She started with Classic and Circuit classes but has added line dancing – quite the feat for this basketball-loving member – yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi. Janice lives a healthier lifestyle by eating nutritious foods, exercising her brain and maintaining a regular fitness routine. When Janice isn’t challenging herself physically or telling all her friends about SilverSneakers, she volunteers with the Adult Literacy League. There she works with people from all over the world who want to improve their English skills so they can better their own lives.
Ruth Ann Brenly
Millersburg, OH – Aetna
Cheryl’s L.I.F.E. Fitness
Ruth Ann Brenly is a very active, energetic 96-year-old – some even compare her to the “energizer bunny.” Although she has a pacemaker, she goes to her SilverSneakers class three days a week and walks two miles every day. In fact, the walking path she uses at the Clark Community Center was recently named in her honor. She is in a quilting group and never misses a Sunday service at her church. Ruth Ann still drives the seven miles into town to pick up groceries and have lunch with friends. Those around her say she is always smiling and has a positive attitude. Ruth Ann is an inspiration to stay active to those who meet her. She truly encourages others to “Love Life Longer.”
Louisville, KY – Humana
Humana Neighborhood Center
Linda Burkhalter is a selfless person who puts others ahead of herself. She is always warm, friendly and welcoming to those in her SilverSneakers class. She even offers to help when another participant might struggle with a certain move. She treats each member of the class as she would her own family – with unconditional love. She meets with a group of ladies in the Humana Neighborhood café and is sure to invite anyone else for coffee and conversation. When her instructor became unable to drive herself to class, Linda gladly volunteered to drive her to her classes each week, saving her instructor money and time. As a fellow member said, “The world would be a better place if we had more Lindas in it!”
Freeland, MI – BCBS of Michigan
Freeland Sports Zone
Edward Coates is personable and kind to all he meets. Despite serious health issues, he continues to go to Freeland Sports Zone and the weekly classes. He stays active and engaged with his grandchildren, being a great example to others to be as active as they can. Through recent medical setbacks, including a leukemia diagnosis and cardiac arrest in the past three years, Ed continued to be positive and ready to move forward. He made sure to get to Freeland Sports Zone, even if it was just to walk during these setbacks. Even when classes are not scheduled, Ed and a group of other SilverSneakers members show up to practice the skills they’ve been learning. Ed’s wife, Cyndi, is a former instructor. They are both prime examples of commitment to health and staying active while aging.
Delton, MI – Priority Health
Northeastern Baptist Church
Kimberley Davis struggles with progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) related to Parkinson’s Disease, but that hasn’t stopped her from attending SilverSneakers classes three days a week. Some exercises are a little more difficult for Kim, but she continues to participate and grow stronger. Her resilience and positive attitude are an inspiration for the other class members. With regular attendance, Kim has been able to build strength, flexibility, balance and agility, and now does the standing portion with the rest of the class. She strives to improve her mobility, and it has shown. Kim is also an instrumental figure in her community, with her optimistic demeanor. She is a beacon of hope for others, reminding them that any challenge can be overcome with a smile and determination. Her cheerful spirit continues to inspire everyone around her!
Hawthorn Woods, IL – Humana
Charter Fitness – Mundelein
Kathleen Felice has been able to manage chronic pain associated with different health conditions, including two knee replacements. She is committed to her fitness journey to help in her life outside the gym. Kathleen enjoys gardening and has been a Master Gardener for the past 24 years. She tends to her acre of land, adopted gardens at her church as well as supporting teens in the Sharing Hands Food Pantry Garden. She helps manage the maintenance of 17 acres of diverse woodlands, wetlands and meadows. Last year, she organized “The Buckthorn Go-Getters” and the group dug out all the buckthorns from a large section of the woods. Kathleen also uses her dedication to physical strength from gym attendance to assist in the Catholic Charity food pantry gardens in the area.
Mary Lou Main
New Orleans, LA – Humana
Humana Neighborhood Center – Metairie
Mary Lou Main is a happy, smiling presence in the Zumba class at the Metairie Humana Center, even participating in the Zumba dance recital. She keeps her health a priority and is happy to join the exercises. Even though technology sometimes gives her a challenge, Mary Lou laughs it off and refuses to let it stop her from enjoying her exercises. She faithfully attends not just Zumba, but other SilverSneakers classes with a smile on her face. At almost 96, Mary Lou is an inspiration to her close family, as well as her Humana family, and always has a smile on her face and a positive outlook on life. She teaches through her example and resilience.
Fort Peirce, FL – Humana
Anytime Fitness – Fort Peirce
Guy Wright is always willing to lend a helping hand, whether assisting other class members in need or cleaning up after class. He visits participants who have fallen ill, encouraging them to get well so they can return to class. Guy keeps the class laughing and motivated throughout the workouts. He is very welcoming to everyone in the class, no matter if it is their first time attending, or if they are regulars. Guy’s cheerful personality is encouraging for those around him. He makes exercising fun for all around him. You may even find Guy leading the class if the instructor happens to be late. He is a class favorite, and it shows! His personality makes him a joy to see in class every day.
SilverSneakers® by Tivity Health is the nation’s leading community fitness program for older Americans. The program was founded in 1992 and is available to more than 16 million Medicare beneficiaries through many Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare Supplement carriers and group retiree plans. For more information, to check eligibility or enroll, go to SilverSneakers.com.