Garrett credits Linen with helping recruit participants – the 2019 class has started with twice as many participants as last year. Her results are the selling point: look at the progress of a woman who has limited ability to exercise because of a neck injury, and she’s still had great success.
“Every little bit of walking she can do helps,” Dr. Wren said. “It’s such an encouraging story for others – to know that somebody a lot like them can do this. You can still do little things that can make a difference.
“She’s definitely been moving more, walking more. More than anything, what I see in her is having a purpose, having a focus, having something she feels she is contributing to.”
Before class one March morning, participants worked up a sweat walking laps around the Choppee Recreation Center gym. Linda Canteen, who lost the most weight – 28 pounds – during the 2018 class, bellowed out a song and cheered on participants from the bleachers. Like Linen, she may have graduated, but she’s not done being part of this special group.
“I just like the camaraderie,” said Canteen, 68. “When we come in here, we tease each other, support each other.”
The assistant minister at Nazareth AME Church – who has a family history of cancer – wanted to be healthy so she could help others.
“I have to take control of my life,” she remembered thinking before joining the program. “I need to know better. I had to discipline myself. I’m a mom of five. I want to be here as long as I can for my children.”