On October 7, 2014, my life changed in an instant.
I was involved in a catastrophic car accident that left me clinging to life. This accident left me with multiple lifelong injuries. I did not realize how very ill I was. I thought that I would rise out of my wheelchair, and walk ‘tomorrow,’ however, that ‘tomorrow’ has now become 5 years & 5 months.
After multiple surgeries, I was basically in bed & in a wheelchair for 3 1/2 years. For one of those years, during that time, I was in an Assistive Care Facility, unable to care for myself. I continue with my rehab journey to this day. 5 years & 5 months later, I am still using multiple therapies and a scooter for mobility. Urban poling is the ‘bright light’ to my goal of walking again. My recovery has had many ups & downs, but I firmly believe, that ‘Good things come out of bad.’ I am alive and I LOVE life!’
Merrilee Wilson (Pictured on the very right in the above photo).
How did I learn about Urban Poling?
I stopped someone in Toronto’s High Park, whose posture was beautiful. They were using very well-designed poles. I am a designer; I notice these things. They proceeded to outline the advantages of using the Urban poles. This person gave me Barb Gormley’s contact information, which I have, since, shared with many people. Upon meeting Barb, my goal was to emulate her exquisite posture & form. I decided on the spot that I had made a great decision to join the walking group in the ‘Gentle Beginner’s’ class. The group gathered every Saturday in Mount Pleasant Cemetery, in fresh air, enjoying the wild deer, and the spring and autumn leaves.
In the beginning, I was only able to walk a very few steps. I am now in my 3rd year of Urban Poling classes, and as a ‘Gentle Beginner,’ have seen improvement in my mobility, posture, confidence, along with my ‘joy of living.’ I can enthusiastically & JOYFULLY say that I can now walk a total of 3 whole laps in the ‘Beginner’s Class,’ like a ‘real pro.’ I have graduated to the next level! So much so, in fact, that I have even transitioned from using the Activator to the Fitness Poles!
“Barb’s comment about me, is that: “Suddenly, in the 3rd last class, I was Nordic walking beautifully, and that I completed the substantial loop in the cemetery, without stopping to rest.” Now, for me, that is a major compliment coming from Barb! For me this is a monumental achievement!
Barb has been so much a part of my success. She is a motivator, leader, passionate about what she does, and an example of never-ending patience. I hope to be able ‘to pay it forward one day,’ to another Urban Poling beginner like myself, who may be struggling through their first class, or through life.
Until then, I wish you a big hug!
NOTE: Our second Wendi Paterson award winner is Emma Kyriacou, who was featured in an independent blog, which she wrote herself.