His journey back into the YMCA family has not been without its challenges and speed bumps. In 2005, Tom retired from his Superintendent position at the Northeast Bradford school district. With plans to build a house with his wife Nancy, Tom was an active man who was looking forward to enjoying his retirement. Unfortunately, in the fall of 2006, he was diagnosed with Wegeners Granulomatosis, a form of Vasculitis. This auto-immune disease left Tom with nerve damage in both of his legs, poor balance, trouble walking and with a host of medicines to cope with the symptoms. In 2007 Tom was cleared to begin physical therapy at Procare Physical Therapy in Towanda, and with his dedication to his health and the help of his physical therapist, Tom was able to regain his balance and his ability to walk unassisted. He has been a strong proponent of physical activity throughout his adult life and believes that “older members need regular exercise to maintain quality of life”.
While Tom was dedicated to his recovery at Procare, his wife Nancy began taking Silver Sneakers classes at our YMCA. She enjoyed the structure of the classes and became a dedicated participant of the YogaStretch class. After some convincing, Tom agreed to try the classes as well. In the beginning, Tom was unable to balance on one leg, and had to use the chair for stability and assistance throughout the one-hour class. Tom now is a dedicated participant in both Muscle Strength and Range of Motion as well as the Cardio Circuit class, and since he began with Silver Sneakers at the YMCA in 2010, Tom has improved his balance, mis muscle strength and his range of motion in his arms and legs. “I can walk, I can climb a ladder, I am able to hike,” Tom boasts, and he was even able to climb to the top of the zip line while on vacation at the Deer Valley YMCA Family Camp.