Supported Living

Step by Step

April 4, 2012

One look at Dale, and you’d never guess that he was once overweight and suffering from high cholesterol. The 52-year-old is fit, active and enthusiastic about life.

“I feel great!” he said emphatically.

 Six years ago, Dale, who has Down syndrome, set out on a mission to improve his health. With the help of staff from Boone County Family Resources, Dale changed his diet and began to walk.

At first, his daily walks were tough-going. Eventually, Dale picked up the pace and the weight began to melt off. To date, Dale has lost 65 pounds and is up to walking 45 minutes a day. When he can’t walk outside, Dale uses a treadmill he purchased himself and set in his living room. He also walks and plays basketball at the ARC.

“Not only does he look great, but the effects it has had on his health are also astounding,” said Karrie Mitchell, Site Supervisor at the Santiago Program, where Dale has his own apartment. “Dale is now only taking one medication to help control his cholesterol, when previously he was taking several.

“When people see Dale who haven’t seen him in a while, the change is obvious,” Mitchell added.

Dale grew up in Mid-Missouri where he has a large, extended family that he often sees on the weekends. His spotless apartment is lined with photographs of his many relatives, including an 8-by-10 inch black-and-white picture of his late mother.

“Isn’t she pretty?” Dale asked, knowing full well the answer.

For more than 25 years, Dale has worked fulltime at the Central Missouri Subcontracting Enterprise, an accomplishment about which he is especially proud. As soon has he gets home, Dale laces up his tennis shoes and is out the door for another 45-minute walk. He rarely misses a day.

“Dale really likes his routine,” Mitchell said.

When Dale isn’t working or walking, he can be found working puzzle books, visiting friends or watching sports on ESPN. He is especially fond of college basketball. Though he often visits Mizzou Arena to see the Tigers play, Dale’s favorite team is the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. He also collects ESPN and Sports Illustrated magazines.

“I’m very happy,” Dale said.

It shows.

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