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Ester Burgess column: Happy Birthday, Kenno!

By Ester Burgess

Salisbury Post

Kenno is 50 today! Happy birthday to you!

If you come to the J.F. Hurley Family YMCA, you will run into Kenno Shoaf. He is our adult sports director. He also is a paraplegic. I came to the YMCA (and Salisbury) in August 1996. Immediately, I met Kenno Shoaf. What an awesome guy he is. When he was young, he broke his neck when he dove into a pool, but with patience, perseverance and enormous support from friends and family, he has touched many lives.

With my third child I was on bed rest for the last 10 weeks. Anybody who knows me knows that I like to move around. It was very hard for me to take it easy.

After the first week of pouting, I realized that I would be able to get back up after Andrew was born. Why was I pouting anyway? I would be able to get back into the swing of things before long. To see Kenno live life to its fullest and making a huge impact on our youth and adult members, I was able to look at life a whole lot different, even when the going was tough.

So here’s to you Kenno. Happy 50th birthday! We all love you.

Numerous wheelchair-bound people like Kenno come to the YMCA, including amputees and members with multiple sclerosis. I applaud each one of them.

Because of Barbara Causey Franklin, we have an awesome program for people who have MS. Each one of our pools, including our whirlpool, has a lift to get you in and out of the pool. They come into the weight room and do their strength exercises.

I see them get stronger, feel better, smile more. Anybody with an autoimmune disease knows that you have your good days and your bad days. We will do anything to make your good days last longer. So if you are wheelchair-bound, we would love to help you get back in the swing of things. And, who knows, you might run into Kenno.


Ester Hoeben Burgess is associate executive director of the J.F. Hurley Family YMCA. Contact her with health and fitness questions at 704-636-0111 or eburgess@ rowanymca.com.


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