My Work with the Arthritis Foundation
The most sobering question on the Arthritis Foundation website is this:
What if you were in so much pain you could not pick up your child?
Well, that was my dad. He was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at the age of 34, right after I was born.
Like any child, I loved to be picked up and tossed in the air. One of our neighbors came to our house and would swing me in the air. My mom told me later that my arthritic dad would spend those times holding back his tears. That was the emotional pain. As a young person, I had no idea of the physical pain he was going through as well.
Fortunately, I am healthy and well. These days, I do get the occasional aches and pains, mostly in the morning, but when I feel like complaining, I just tell myself to “Shut up!”
A few years ago, I received a call from ONEgeneration, a community enrichment center that provides inter-generational programming to bring together seniors, young adults, and children for the purpose of promoting healthy lifestyles and overall well-being. The director asked me if I was interested in enrolling in an exercise training program for the Arthritis Foundation. I am a teacher, but I had never thought of teaching an exercise class.
I went through the training program, received my certification, and went for CPR training.
I am happy to say that I currently teach an exercise class for the Arthritis Foundation at ONEgeneration. The class brings together a group of seniors who are vibrant, alive, and excited about staying healthy and living a long life. It has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
I look forward to the future, and will soon be teaching an Aquatics program for the Arthritis Foundation in addition to the exercise program that I currently teach. I also look forward to being an advocate for legislation that helps fight all forms of arthritis.
I bring my dad’s picture to every exercise class I teach.
“Luella is an excellent certified Arthritis Foundation Instructor. She volunteered twice a week at ONEgeneration Senior Enrichment Center, teaching “Be Fit While U Sit” to a class of almost 30 students. Her unique approach to engage her students and bring a positive energy to the class put a smile on the seniors’ faces and made them eager to come back to take the next class. Luella is a fantastic instructor and we hope she will continue to be a part of our center.”
“My friends and I agree that one of the highlights of our week is our workout classes with Luella Wagner. We enjoy the exercises, the music, and her upbeat positive personality. Best of all, we feel better and more youthful and energized afterwards!”