LETTER: Health Connection too important to community to close

Thursday, March 26, 2009 | 5:03 p.m. CDT; updated 5:12 p.m. CDT, Thursday, March 26, 2009

I was devastated when I learned the Health Connection was in danger of being closed in Columbia.

I am 84 years old and suffer from a worsening case of osteoarthritis. Ten years ago I found an exercise study program by Marian A. Minor at MU that helps people with arthritis. It made such a dramatic improvement in my life that I knew it was critically important for me to continue.

I have kept up the regimen, three days a week, under the expert guidance of the staff at Health Connection. Their dedication in providing specific guidance, tailored for my arthritis, is the very essence of the university's "Make a Difference" program — they made a real difference in my life.

In these past 10 years, my mobility and posture have improved markedly and I have lost 26 excess pounds that I once thought I'd never be rid of. As organist for my church, the pain in my hands used to force me to stop playing after only 15 minutes; now I play as long as two hours, and more, for the sheer joy of playing free from pain.

We all understand the necessity for sacrifice to reduce costs in these difficult times, but surely there must be some way to keep the Health Connection going. It is a valuable asset to the university and the community, and it is critically important to so many people like me.

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