Good health has always been a priority in my life due to my congenital and complex medical history of renal agenesis and left hip dysplasia, osteoarthritis, and avascular necrosis. Both diagnoses resulted in peritoneal dialysis, two kidney transplants from deceased donors at 5-years-old and then 12-years-old, left hip replacement, a lifetime of immunosuppressant/anti-rejection medications and its multiple side effects, and sporadic muscle spasms.
For years, I kept my medical challenges a secret out of fear and a desire to just belong and be “normal.” However, my life was forever changed in the best of ways in 2010 when I signed up as a spectator at the Transplant Games held in Madison, Wisconsin. The experience of seeing transplant recipients competing to showcase the power of organ donation and transplantation and honoring organ donor families in this extraordinary, biannual Olympic-style event completely transformed my life. This one experience ignited my organ donation and transplant advocacy work. I began to open up and share with the public through speaking events, volunteer work with various organ donation and transplant organizations, and written articles about my organ donation and transplant story and the REAL facts of organ donation and transplantation as a way to encourage anyone and everyone to become a life-saving and registered organ donor just by visiting “Donate Life America” at www.donatelife.net– please do register as a life-saving organ donor!
In 2012, the Transplant Games of America were held in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I decided to finally participate as a competitive athlete in the swimming division, specifically in 100 free and 50 free. Swimming had always been ‘my sport’ to alleviate my arthritic body pain and fulfill the water lover in me. At that time, I had only been a “Club Fit” member for roughly a year, and I primarily kept to myself. I was very serious about my athletic participation in the Transplant Games of America, and so I contacted Club Fit to locate any personal trainers who understood my medical challenges in relation to improving my physical stamina and strength for competitive swimming. Club Fit immediately, enthusiastically, and happily stepped up to my request and assigned me two outstanding personal trainers: Beth Kear for the swim competition portion and Leslie Kesselman for building up my very weak core and muscle tone. I can only shower both of them with the utmost praise for the patience, personal fitness, encouragement, and techniques that they gave me during training!! I learned from my weekly and diligent sessions with them that athletic competing contains the strongest link and connection between both physical and mental health! Thanks to them and Club Fit, I gained the mental and physical confidence and strength that I needed! They were so supportive of my personal advocacy endeavors and goals that I ended up doing two team relays for the first time at the Transplant Games of America AND I also ended up winning two bronze medals and a silver medal!! Competing for the first time in my life and winning medals was one of the highest and most exhilarating points of my life!
In April 2013, I finally underwent my twenty-year delayed left hip replacement surgery. After two months of a very challenging and rough rehabilitation to learn to walk all over again, I was finally able to return to my comfort: Club Fit. I was back to my love for swimming, but my physical therapist instructed me to build up my very weak muscles and core. I turned to Club Fit for inspiration and innovation yet again, and discovered such strength training classes as TRX and Kinesis and core classes as the Abs Class. I fully lucked out when I met personal trainer, Nancy Esposito! Her enthusiasm and methodical teaching methods in Kinesis and TRX had my unused muscles incredibly sore, yet grateful for trying to move and groove again. Again, Club Fit struck again with its uplifting and wondrous ways of building up and bringing my body and health to new leaps and bounds that I never even thought possible!
I learned at a young age that there is nothing more precious and treasured than health, to always live life to the fullest, to always stay positive and have a good attitude, and to never take what I have for granted because anything could be gone in a blink of an eye. I often reflect upon my life and how awesome and awe-inspiring of a journey it has been so far as an organ donation and transplant advocate and with such major milestones as participating and winning medals in the Transplant Games, being a Donate Life Float Rider at the 123rd Rose Bowl Parade in California, and, most recently, the final completion of my website “The Wu Way” at www.thewuway.com and personal autobiography “Confessions of a Kidney Transplant” that was published as a hard copy book in Spring 2013.
To me, “Health” contains physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual aspects. “Club Fit” encapsulates all of these aspects, and has been my greatest inspiration, motivator, supporter, and advocator in my life and so many others. Joining Club Fit was the best decision I ever made to enhance my overall health of mind, body, and spirit! Thank You, Club Fit, for making such a positive difference in so many lives and especially mine!