Member of the Month
At age 7, Fred contracted polio in his leg. He came home from the hospital in a wheel chair. He asked his dad if he would get him a glass of water. His dad said, “Nope. Get it yourself.” Since then, Fred has been very independent.
In 1968, Fred was an x-ray tech at Memorial Hospital. He had seen karate on TV and was very interested in it. But, there were very few dojos around and none on this side of the river. One day while at work he was talking about it and a co-worker happened to walk by and overheard the conversation. The coworker said, “There’s a class starting tonight at Scott AFB. Would you like to come with me?” Fred has been involved with karate ever since.
Karate means empty hand. It originated in Okinawa when they were stripped of their weapons. Fred has been to Okinawa at least a dozen times to learn from their instructors. He has become friends with them and they have also come to America and been in his home. Fred is the highest ranked non Okinawan in the world.
Interesting tidbit about Fred. At age 12 he went to see a therapist to try to better his leg. What the therapist told him has stuck with him. He said, “Forget the leg. Don’t worry about what you don’t have. Just develop what you do have.” So, that’s what he did. He is very competitive. He plays golf, basketball, and swims. He has won 5 gold medals in the senior Olympics.
Fred is a Karate Instructor here at BHSC.
Jeff started studying martial arts in 1982. He has studied under several teachers of various Okinawan and Japanese styles of hand to hand combat.
He has visited Okinawa & Japan several times to study with their best instructors. He currently holds black belts in seven different styles of martial arts. He has also completed hand to hand training with various U.S. Military instructors.
Jeff is married to Cheryl, who is also a member.
Jeff leads a self-defense class here at BHSC.
Member of the Month
The light shines on Mitzi Antonopoulos this month. Mitzi was chosen as the employee of the month at Memorial Hospital. Mitzi says, “It is an honor to receive this award”.
She has 3 children, Chris 31, Jonathan 29 and Stephanie 26. Chris and his wife Missy are expecting a baby in November. Mitzi is excited to become a “Baba” (grandma in Macedonian) to her first grandbaby. It’s a Boy!!!
Even though her name is Greek, she is ½ Macedonian. Her grandmother did not speak English, so she learned the language to communicate with her grandparents.
She moved to Belleville in August 1983 and became a member at BHSC. In April 2002, she started working part time at the gym on Friday mornings and became a full-time employee in 2011
Mitzi’s exercise routine started with aerobics only. As time went on she has tried all classes but Yoga and Tai Chi (you have to be quiet in those classes). Her favorite is Step class. She has incorporated lifting weights and enjoys that as much as the other classes.
The most rewarding part in her life is her family. She enjoys spending as much time with her 3 sisters and kids. Other hobbies are crafts, sewing, walking on the beach and motorcycle rides.
Mitzi feels that the members and staff are her extended family.
We are all so proud of you.
Member of the Month
In the Fall of 2015 Margaret started to have symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. She didn’t know she had it until March of 2017. Shortly after getting her diagnosis she fell, which resulted in her breaking her wrist, elbow, and ribs. In October 2017, an article on Rock Steady Boxing was in the newspaper.
This was a way to help herself in this situation, so, Margaret called, and signed up. Almost a year after her first fall, Margaret fell again. breaking her humerus bone. These falls were due to bad balance issues.
Margaret has been fairly consistent in coming to Rock Steady classes Monday-Friday since she joined, Margaret says, “It has made me physically stronger, which has improved my balance. The support of the other Parkinson’s members and coaches is wonderful for my mental health and attitude. It helps me keep my never give up approach to doing whatever I can to slow the progression of this disease. I worked 45 years as a nurse and had just retired before I was diagnosed. When I retired I thought I had no worries. Then I find out I have this. Obviously it has taken me in a totally different direction. I’ve also learned that exercise is just as important as any meds.”
Congratulations! Your never give up attitude is inspiring. You are a great example to others and we are grateful to have you as a member.
Member of the Month
Lynn exercised when she was younger, but that ended when she went to nursing school and began working.
In 2013 Lynn woke up with amnesia. At first her husband thought she was joking around. Fear set in when he realized it was real. The doctors never figured out what the cause was. They speculate that she threw a small blood clot that didn’t show up on any tests. For the next five years. Lynn suffered from short term memory loss, weight gain, muscle loss, & extreme fatigue. She didn’t do much but sleep all the time.
Eventually, she did try to get her weight under control. The doctor didn’t want her on the treadmill, but he did want her to walk. It didn’t help. He suggested seeing a nutritionist. She gained even more weight. A friend mentioned that she had joined a gym. Lynn had just changed insurance carriers and realized she had Silver Sneakers available to her, so she decided to join at Belleville Health & Sports Center.
She started with chair classes. Learning how to use the weight machines, she began to gain muscle strength and could move better. She changed her diet figuring maybe she was having a diabetic reaction due to eating too many carbs. Lynn cut way back on the carbs, as well as only eating when she was hungry instead of three meals a day with three small snacks.
Due to all these changes Lynn has lost 37 pounds since last June. Lynn says, “My friends ask me what drugs I’m taking because I have so much more energy. I can move easily and I’m happy! I never dreamed at age 70 that I’d have a whole new lease on life! I wish everyone knew what exercise can do for you.”
We are thrilled to have you here and are so pleased to know you are feeling so much better.
Keep up your new lifestyle with us for many years to come!
Member of the Month
Alex Werner is the member of the month for May. At age 13 and in grade school, Alex was very active and running track. Over a six month period, many things occurred. His knee started hurting after he had a growth spurt, chalking this up to track and figured it would get better eventually. His friends started teasing him, because he suddenly started slapping his right foot as he ran, due to his knee hurting and trying to get off that foot as quickly as possible.
Alex’s sister noticed his knee was swollen and was a lot bigger than the other one. What he found out changed his life forever. Unfortunately, Osteosarcoma, a cancerous tumor in the bone had grown in his knee. It was the size of a tennis ball.
During Alex’s 8th grade year he went through two types of cancer therapy. Sadly, neither one worked ending with leg amputation. This was right around the time he left a small Catholic school and started high school at Belleville West. Rehab itself was very grueling. That’s a lot of changes and stress for such a young man.
As he continues to grow, he has to get new prosthetic and fittings. “I think I have about 10 different ones in my closet,” said Alex. His physical capabilities are a constant work in progress. It’s not just about new technology. There’s cost and how much insurance will pay, as well as how his body changes, what piece of equipment is wearing out, etc. that effects how things work. “I have to work out to keep my core strong which helps me move the leg better. He has to be consistent with his workouts, working out too much or too little causes body changes and the prosthesis will not fit properly,” says Alex. He exercises to give himself the best possible lifestyle now and to avoid back issues down the road. It’s also his way of clearing his head and relieving stress. He visits the gym 4-5 times a week. He uses both free weights and Nautilus machines. He also gets his cardio in by using the bike. His workouts last about an hour.
His story is so inspirational on how obstacles can be overcome and about how to never give up no matter what is thrown at you. Not only is Alex strong of body, but also strong of mind!
So glad to have you as a member here at Belleville Health & Sports Center!
Member of the Month
This April we are celebrating our member Rodney Jacobs. Six years ago he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. His symptoms started with difficulty writing. At first, thinking it was carpal tunnel syndrome, but with further testing that was dismissed. Other symptoms he has are rigid arms or no arm swing while walking and facial muscle issues
After seeing a segment on TV about Rock Steady Boxing, he researched where in the area it was offered. Our instructors had not completed their certificate of training, so he did other forms of exercise for a couple of weeks until classes started. Rodney has been here since the program has started almost 3 years ago. Boxing makes the muscles fire quicker.
Boxing & other exercise slows the progression of Parkinson. Rodney stated, “You can really tell if you miss a week or so for vacation.” He said, “The Rock Steady trainers are fantastic! They really want us to have a better life. The staff also does a variety in class so we don’t get bored. I really like the other participants, too. We learn a lot from each other during the monthly support meetings.”
Besides Rock Steady, Rodney also walks 2 to 3 miles per week. He uses Nautilus machines & free weights as well. Other classes he participates in are weight class, circuit class, & yoga.
We’re so glad to have you as a member! Keep fighting!
Member of the Month
Angela Lewis is member of the month. Angela had her first heart attack at age 37. Her dog & children got her help, but her struggles were just beginning.
Her doctor told her she had the heart of an eighty year old women. Within four months she had two more heart attacks and her first stroke. This was followed by two more strokes and a congenital heart failure diagnosis. She was in the hospital 2-3 times a month. Angela recalls being on oxygen and still so weak she had trouble walking from her bedroom to the bathroom.
During more than a decade of struggles, doctors inserted a defibrillator, performed two open-heart surgeries, and used many medicines before placing Angela on a waiting list for a heart transplant.
In January 2010, she got the precious phone call: “We have a heart for you.” Angela says, “I screamed and started crying, “Thank God.”
Now Angela enjoys Zumba twice a week as well as riding the bike. She rides outside as well.
She also enjoys camping, sewing, decorating for weddings, teaching Sunday school & ushering at her church.
Angela has 3 grown children and 8 grandchildren that she loves spending
Member's of the Month
Marlene and Jack Lintz have been married for 56years. They’ve also been members here for 35 years and were originally part owners of the Raquetball Club which is now BHSC. Marlene uses the elliptical machine as well as various weight machines and also does personal training with Denise. Jack uses the treadmill or the bike as well as various weight machines. They spend 1 ½ hours here three times a week.
Outside of the gym, they enjoy walking and working in the yard. In younger years they would water ski, snow ski, and jog. Also, they have taken pilates classes.
Before retiring, Marlene was a RN at Signal Hill School. As of today, Marlene has 4-5 shut ins she visits regularly. Jack, a retired dentist, enjoys carving ducks, making things in stained glass, and building things with wood.
So glad to have you with us all these years.
We hope you continue your healthy lifestyle here.
Mike has been a member of BHSC for at least 20 years. The most important part of this time for him & his wife (JoAnn) has been during the last year as Silver Sneaker members. In May and June of 2018 Mike was diagnosed with bladder cancer and intestinal cancer. His doctors were reluctant to put him on chemo therapy treatments due to his advanced age. However, after getting a physical exam they decided his physical condition could handle chemo. Mike said, “I owe a thank you to BHSC for being in good shape for my age.” “Stretch classes led by Cheryl and Marsha, as well as weight lifting workouts have been the key to my success for staying in shape to tolerate the chemo treatments.”
In November, while still undergoing chemo treatments, Mike was pronounced CANCER FREE from both types of cancer! He is looking to stay cancer free and continuing his work outs at BHSC.
It just goes to show that being in shape is important for times when things go wrong. Your chances of coming through are much greater this way.
We are so glad to have you as a member! We’re even more excited about your great prognosis!
Swanson Award Winner
Top 10 Nationwide!
Previous Member's of the Month