Tucson woman’s triumphant transformation following traumatic tumble inspires others

Pam Cherry nominated for national SilverSneakers Swanson Award by gymmates

Woman nominated for Silver Sneakers award

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - While going to the gym might be a chore for some, it’s a second home for Pam Cherry.

But it wasn’t always that way for the 74-year-old Tucson resident.

After recovering from two falls in one year and a fractured wrist, Cherry wasn’t sure she would be able to walk again, let alone exercise.

Pam Cherry recovering from fractured wrist. (Source: Pam Cherry)
Pam Cherry recovering from fractured wrist. (Source: Pam Cherry) (Source: Pam Cherry)

On top of the rigorous recovery process, Cherry gained close to 50 pounds.

“It was just like depressing and awful,” Cherry said.

She not only recovered, but made a triumphant come back by going to the gym every day. One class in particular helped her dig deep -- the SilverSneakers class.

Pam Cherry at her silver sneakers class (Source: Pam Cherry)
Pam Cherry at her silver sneakers class (Source: Pam Cherry) (Source: Pam Cherry)

Cherry inspired others along the way, like Edwin Bigby.

“She’s come a long way from someone who had trouble walking,” Bigby said.

Pam Cherry's before and after photo (Source: Pam Cherry)
Pam Cherry's before and after photo (Source: Pam Cherry) (Source: Pam Cherry)

That’s why when it came time for the SilverSneakers Annual Fitness and Inspiration Award, it was an easy pick.

She was nominated for the SilverSneakers Swanson Award that recognizes people who’ve improved their life with exercise and have helped others along the way.

Cherry said the whole gym nominated her, writing in letters, eager to get as many votes as possible.

“I cried for a week; every time I read one of the letters I cried,” Cherry said.

The letters described her as “always cheerful, with a smile,” or mentioned how she “never complains and is always excited to be in class and see everyone.”

Cherry was a top 10 finalist. She didn’t win, but Cherry said the support of her community means far more than any award.

The winner was a 70-year-old man from North Carolina.

Day-to-day life hasn’t changed much for Cherry.

She still goes to the gym, but maybe with a little bigger smile.

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