He’s there five to seven times a week and wouldn’t be too noteworthy, were it not for the fact he’s lost both his legs.
“I call what I’m doing ‘walk and talk,’” Shaw says. “Some people have told me I’m brave; I say I’m stubborn. I hope I can inspire more people to get out and walk.”
Shaw says he tries to make it to the walking track, no matter how bad he may feel.
“It makes me feel better and gives me a chance to motivate others.
“I usually do five to 10 laps per day. The programs here are lifesavers for me.”
Shaw lost one leg because of Type 1 diabetes 10 years ago. He lost the other to antibiotic-resistant MRSA, three years ago. For awhile his walking was limited to going from the car into Tim Hortons and back.
He’s been told his chance of having a normal life was “slim to none.”
Then he heard about walking programs at the RECC. He started with Walk and Roll and liked it. Since there were nurses and retired nurses helping out, he knew problems that showed up during a walk would be addressed.
“I had to stop seven times to get around the track the first time,” he said. “Now I do half a lap before stopping.”
He read a newspaper story about doctors Stephen Ellis and Raj Makkar running the Walk With a Doc program and was intrigued.
“It’s great,” he said. “These people care enough to lead by example. The doctors are reaching out so I’d encourage people to show up. They also educate us while we’re here.”
After six months Shaw was able to reduce his insulin from 220 units to 70, and managed to do away with two medications he was taking. In the process, he’s also lost about 50 pounds.
“I really enjoy the atmosphere of walking with the group; I feel welcome and safe,” he said. “It’s like therapy for mental and physical health.”
Walk and Roll – resumes for the season on Sept. 19. It runs from 2:30-3:30 p.m. each Tuesday. Walkers will be provided for those who need one.
Walk with a Doc – resumes Sept. 16 and will run from 8:30-9:30 a.m. each Saturday the facility is available.
These programs are free.