The Gary Knight Story
By Karen Brown-Gordon, M.Ed., ACE-Certified PT, GFI
For the past four years, I have been working on a Centers of Disease Control and Prevention research grant to decrease the cardiovascular disease health disparity in African-Americans in Clark County, Nevada. The “Healthy Hearts Project,” includes a program we offer in the community called “Your Personal GitFit Plan,” where individuals can come to the local community-center gym to have a program designed for them using the equipment at the center, all for free. The program takes into consideration individual needs, interests, schedules, and any special health considerations.
In August, 2004, Gary Knight began participating in this program. In 2002, at 36 years of age, he had been diagnosed with Type II Diabetes. Many in his family also had this disease. He was well aware of the devastating effects and wanted no part of it. Gary was put on medication and began walking one mile daily, and made changes to his diet.
After one year’s time, he had lost 100 pounds and was able to get off the medication. He soon discovered how much easier it was to move after the weight loss; he added jogging to his walks and increased the distance. Gary made the decision that he would like to train to do a half-marathon coming up later that year. Unfortunately, when it came time to run the race, he became ill with the flu and was unable to participate.
After recovering from his illness, Gary got right back into his daily walk/jog/runs. A year later, in December 2005, he participated in the Las Vegas Marathon and completed the 26.2 miles in four-and-a-half hours. He plans on continuing his program and has not needed medication in two years. Gary looks like an athlete and serves as a role model for others in his family and community, and it helps to encourage physically-active lifestyles. He now additionally jumps rope for 30 minutes daily during weekdays, and runs every week-end. Keep going, Gary!