by Colleen Godin
In 2002, Gulfport Senior Center regular Ivy Nicholas suffered a stroke that rendered her temporarily blind and almost paralyzed on her left side. Only four years later, she had a heart attack and a second devastating stroke. With the aid of therapy, Ivy was able to recover her vision and begin walking with a cane, but her real breakthrough didn’t occur until she moved to Gulfport.
Born in British Guiana, South America (now Guyana), Nicholas moved to New York at age twenty and eventually retired to Florida. In 2006, Ivy moved to Gulfport from Kenneth City to aid a friend in the care of her grandmother.
It wasn’t long before Ivy found herself at the doors of the Senior Center during one of her daily walks. Ivy immediately took advantage of the opportunities offered at the Center, especially the recently updated fitness room. The treadmill and Shapemaster machines became fast favorites as she dedicated five days per week to a workout routine. Ivy’s friends soon noticed a change that Ivy almost didn’t notice herself: She no longer needed her cane.
Ivy credits the Senior Center and the Foundation Fitness Center with her improved health. She reports that her heart is healthier, her steps are greater, and her mobility has increased. She enjoys the combination of exercise, dining and socializing that the Center brings to her life. “The staff is beautiful and the people are wonderful,” states Nicholas. “I love being here.”