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Featured Folks: Week #5

John W. Deakin
Age 67, Retired
Former Police Officer, Also worked for the West Virginia Department of Highways and Wheeling Hospital

“Push yourself and don’t feel sorry for yourself!” That is how John Deakin, a retired policeman feels. John says he is busier now, since retiring, than ever.

Six years ago John, while visiting his grandchildren in Montreal had a health scare. John was having a difficult time breathing and began to turn blue. He saw a doctor who informed him that his health was very poor, he had emphysema, and that he could possibly die very soon if he didn’t stop smoking.

John, a long time smoker, didn’t think that he would ever quit, but the reality that he would never be able to watch his grandchildren play hockey again set in. He gave up smoking. Almost a year ago John had a serious bout of pneumonia and also found that he was a diabetic.

With the help of his physician, John entered Diabetic rehabilitation. There John began walking nearly 1 mile a day on almost every day. The mile was tedious though and took nearly 35 minutes. The therapist at rehab checked John’s oxygen level and found that he needed oxygen. So now John walks with his oxygen and feels great. He enjoys the walk and says he feels better than he has in a long time.

When questioned about his walking habit John had this to say:

Why do you walk? I walk for health reasons. It helps you to lose weight. It helps a lot of your body parts. Plus, it’s good for you!

Why do you love walking? The cost is very low and walking helps my body a great deal. Walking is something that everyone can do.

What is your toughest obstacle to walking? My toughest obstacles were when I turned blue and had to quit smoking - it was tough. Diabetic and Pulmonary rehab were also tough, but they helped me to start exercising daily and eat right. It worked and I feel great now.

What is the coolest benefit of walking? Walking helps me with weight loss and it makes me feel a lot better.

What is your biggest surprise about walking? I think the biggest surprise was that all of the walking, eating right, and quitting smoking worked. And with my oxygen, I feel great!

John was reluctant to be a profile for the campaign but wanted to help others.

“If my story can be an inspiration to others, then I want to help them to get off their duffs and start walking too!” So follow John’s example and walk every day!

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