Bill and Isobel Chisum like to keep moving. In fact, the retired couple in their early 80s exercises every day.
The active couple needs no incentive to join an exercise class. However, when Isobel was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006, days before boarding a previously planned cruise, they never expected to find a class they’d still love more than a decade later.
“After receiving Isobel’s diagnosis, we decided to keep our plans to go on the cruise to help take our minds off of what was to come,” Bill says. “We heard there would be a breast cancer lecture on the cruise, and though it wasn’t what we wanted to hear about at that time, we attended and met the speaker who changed our attitude tremendously.”
The speaker was Sherry Lebed, co-founder of a therapeutic exercise program called Healthy Steps, which happened to be launching at Sharp Memorial Hospital for patients with cancer and their loved ones. She encouraged Bill and Isobel to join the class, and 14 years later, they continue to go.
“Because of the class, we just feel so good, so healthy,” says Isobel, now fully in remission. “Not only is it great exercise, but we’ve also met some great instructors and community members over the years.”
Bill and Isobel credit the connections they’ve made for benefiting them almost as much as the exercise. “It’s important to have contact with others, and the social opportunities Healthy Steps offers are invaluable — we even stay in touch with the other participants outside of class,” Bill says.
The Chisums are grateful for Sherry’s encouragement to join Healthy Steps at Sharp Memorial. “It couldn’t have been better meeting her on that trip,” Bill says. “The classes we’re still attending have provided us with some very positive experiences.”