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Local senior striving to raise money for OSMH, encourage fitness

'Whether it’s hiking, running, or even mountain biking on the trails, it’s important for seniors to keep active,' says organizer of Sept. 16 Fit to Live event

Ann Budge is living proof that you need to be fit to live a long and healthy life. It's why she constantly encourages local seniors to keep active and why she is the driving force behind a new event called Fit to Live.

The 84-year-old started the event as a fundraiser for the Rehab Day Hospital at Orillia Soldiers' Memorial Hospital (OSMH) to help more patients regain their lives after life-altering injuries and surgeries. 

Budge suffered a life-altering injury in 2015 when she was 78 years old. As she cycled down 15/16 Sideroad in Oro-Medonte Township, Budge was struck by a school bus.

“I was taken to the hospital where they did surgery on my smashed femur. Now, I have a 30-centimetre plate with a whole lot of screws, and my calf was sliced down to the bone by the front of the bus,” Budge recalls.

“After six weeks in OSMH, I was sent to Georgian Bay General Hospital where I did continued tests, physio, and therapy, and then they said I could go home and that was because of who I was before my accident.”

At the age of 50, Budge began competitive cycling and went on to win provincial, Canadian and world masters titles. Budge remained very active as a senior and doctors declared that she had the body of a 61-year-old when she was, in fact, 78, she said with pride.  

"If I hadn’t been fit and strong, I would have been in long-term care and wouldn’t be able to walk," she explained.

After realizing the importance of physical activity for seniors after her injury, Budge decided she wanted to help spread awareness and raise money for OSMH. 

“It’s important that people realize that they need to keep going as they age. Whether it’s hiking, running, or even mountain biking on the trails, it’s important for seniors to keep active,” she said.

“I can remember thinking when I was 45 that I was too old to be out running on the trails, but if I hadn’t kept a strong and fit lifestyle I wouldn’t be walking now.”

The Fit to Live event features guest speakers including certified forest therapy guide Kristie Virgoe and retired family doctor Carol Strickland. Following the guest speakers, there will be a 300-metre walk down to Church Woods, which is owned by The Couchiching Conservancy.

The outdoor event takes place on Thursday, Sept. 16 at St. Thomas Hall in Shanty Bay from 1:30 p.m. until 5 p.m., and admission costs $20. To buy tickets or for more information about the event and its speakers, click here.




Tyler Evans

About the Author: Tyler Evans

Tyler Evans got his start in the news business when he was just 15-years-old and now serves as a video producer and reporter with OrilliaMatters
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