“MOVE is a gym for people with physical disabilities,” says Alannah Verville. “We’re all volunteer-based, and we cater to people with neurological disorders: Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury…but it’s not limited to just those things.”
Verville is MOVE’s kinesiologist, and gym coordinator.
“Everyone else is a volunteer,” says Verville, “either from Camosun, or the UVic program. They’re all in the exercise/wellness realm, so there’s a lot of knowledge there.”
This is MOVE’s fourth year as a CHEK charity recipient in the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon. It’s the gym’s biggest fundraiser.
“In the past, what we’ve done is have volunteers sign up and run and fundraise,” says Verville. “But this year, eight gym members are in training to take on the 8k in relay fashion.”
Diana MacDonald is one of the 8K team members. “None of us can really run in the first place, so those of us who can are going to walk one or more kilometers, and then pass off our imaginary baton to the next person.”
“We’ve got to raise awareness,” says Robin Grist, another 8K team member. “We’ve got to raise funds, so it was a no-brainer to decide to be a part of this.”
A ‘no-brainer’ to join the fundraiser, because this gym means a lot to its members.
“I don’t know where I would be without this place now,” says Gord Rant, as he walks with the team. “It was a catalyst to turn my life around somewhat, because I had never worked out before, and I didn’t think I could.”
And it’s not just the members who are passionate about their gym. The volunteers love working at MOVE too.
Volunteer Tuan Tran says “I wanted to get experience into occupational therapy or physical therapy, because that’s my career choice. You learn a lot here, and it’s really nice seeing the members improve constantly.”
MacDonald adds another reason this fundraiser is so important to MOVE.
“The more the baby boomers blossom, the more their illnesses are going to be a factor, and they’re going to want a place to stay healthy and strong.”