FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Thousands of runners and walkers will take to the streets of Fort Wayne Saturday, for this year’s Fort4Fitness Fall Festival. Every participant has a different motivation for participating including stories of perseverance.
Courtney Fassold will be participating in Fort4Fitness for the fifth time this weekend, but just last year she lost her ability to walk after a post-viral infection following a COVID-19 diagnosis.
“I had COVID in November of last year I was diagnosed, and then in December, I had a post-viral infection that basically meant I couldn’t feel my arms or legs and I started speaking with a stutter,” explained Fassold.
Over the course of the last eight months, Fassold has gone through various physical therapy sessions, along with speech and occupational therapy. Her process took her from a wheelchair to a walker and braces to correct a toe drag. Eventually, she gained the strength to walk independently.
“It was really hard because I couldn’t feel my arms or legs and so I couldn’t do anything for myself,” said Fassold, “I had to rely on everyone for everything from getting dressed to brushing my teeth to helping me bathe.”
In addition to her physical therapists, she relied heavily on the support of her friends and her husband who is a nurse at Parkview. This week she will walk in the 4 mile event at Fort 4 Fitness with all of them by her side, along with family members from out of town.
“I think it’s kind of my way of giving back to them, showing them how far that I’ve come and just it’s gonna be a celebration,” Fassold added, “We’re gonna have so much fun on Saturday and being able to be with the people that supported me the most is the most important part to me.”
Her support team also had shirts made that hold her message to all of those who struggle with getting out and moving regardless of their range of motion.
“You just have to keep trying like my shirt and my phrase says ‘Sometimes Just Surviving is Thriving’ and so you just have to do the best you can every day,” said Fassold, “Being outside and being motivated by that did wonders for me and I highly recommend just being out and even if you can’t walk being out and being in the fresh air every day.”
Fassold adds that this year they are walking for Turnstone Rehabilitation, which was instrumental in her rehab by assisting her with mobility equipment. Her group is donating their portion to Turnstone as a way to give back to the organization.