Achilles Athlete Lucia Winston Is Walking Tall
On June 24, NYRR and Achilles International will host the Achilles Hope & Possibility (4M) to celebrate the spirit that brings together able-bodied athletes and athletes with disabilities. Leading up to the event, we'll be sharing the stories of Achilles athletes like diabetic walker Lucia, who has regained her mobility through the program.
Lucia Winston is a born-and-raised New Yorker. Originally from Harlem, she moved from borough to borough before settling down in the apartment she lived in while growing up. After working as a counselor for 12 years, Lucia is loving retirement. "It allows for me to spend more time with friends, do things I enjoy, and take better care of myself, which includes taking part in the Achilles walking program for people with diabetes," Lucia says.
Apart from diabetes, Lucia has struggled with staying active over the years due to a series of knee and hip surgeries, which have left her with pain and balance issues. However, when she saw a flyer for Achilles International at her doctor's office, she thought it could be a good fit. "The Achilles program seemed like it might be a good way to start exercising again and I liked the idea of connecting with other diabetic people," she says.
Although she has only been in the program for two months, Lucia has already seen a big improvement in her fitness. "For a few years, just standing in one place was very painful and walking for only half a block was both painful and exhausting," she says. "Now, after working with a terrific physical therapist and with the encouragement of my Achilles group leader, Michael, I challenge myself more. I'm walking more and starting to enjoy it again."
Lucia has already started to walk outside of the program on her own. "At the end of each walk, in my heart I'm jumping up and down and pumping my fists in the air, feeling a real sense of accomplishment," she says. "I've even started doing some of the pre- and post-walk stretching exercises at home just because I feel like it. That's a big deal for me because exercise is not my thing."
Lucia is feeling better and better every day and is looking forward to her future with Achilles. "I walk farther than I thought I would ever walk before starting the program, and that includes walking uphill," she says. "In my mind, I'm finally an athlete! I'm very much looking forward to participating in the Achilles Hope & Possibility Walk on June 24."
Interested in running or walking with Achilles International, want to make a donation, or know someone who could benefit from being a member? Visit achillesinternational.org.