MACKINAW CITY, Mich. (WANE) — When Linda Blain, a Whitley County woman in her late 60s, was diagnosed with heart disease in 2015 she was filled with a feeling of uncertainty.
“There were a lot of things I thought I wouldn’t be able to do again,” Blain said. “My cardiologist reminded me that it wasn’t a death sentence, necessarily, unless I chose to do nothing.”
So, Blain chose to do something. She said she started to take short, 5-minute each way walks, which she gradually extended longer and longer during her lunch hour.
Then, about four years ago Blain had a conversation with her son.
“My son said, ‘you know, if we’re going to ever walk the Mackinac Bridge we better get it done’,” Blain said. “So, we decided to do that. It’s something he’d always wanted to do and we just never got it done.”
The Mackinac Bridge Walk has been held on Labor Day every year since 1959. It typically draws a crowd of more than 20,000 participants. Blain said for her, walking across the bridge was a goal to work towards.
She achieved the goal, alongside her husband and son, in 2018 and 2019, walking one length of the bridge. But, it wasn’t until this past Labor Day that she finally completed the 10-mile “double crosser walk.”
“Plus, you have to walk from your car to the bridge and you have to get back to your car,” Blain said. “So, the sense of accomplishment is great… I accomplished that goal, and friends of mine pointed out that this is big. To me it wasn’t that big a deal, I guess I’ve just coping and moving on with my, my situation the best I can.”
Blain said she plans on completing the walk again next Labor Day. Her advice for anyone else battling health issues is to “just keep at it.”
“Just don’t give up and it is hard, because it’s not something that goes away once you do a little bit and get in decent shape,” Blain said. “I’m not in the best shape but I just keep going.”