Blog Post Header MJ

Tapestry resident proves anything is possible with determination and positivity

It was a bright sunny morning when Tapestry resident, MJ, crossed the finish line of the 2022 Vancouver Sun Run. Although it was the abridged version of the iconic event, it may as well have been a marathon for MJ. 

Thirty years ago, after a life-changing vehicle crash in which she ended up in hospital for nine months and in a coma for five weeks, MJ was told she would never walk again. 

Prior to this devastating news, MJ had been extremely active, playing many sports including fast pitch softball and volleyball. As a determined competitor for most of her life, MJ was unwilling to accept her prognosis, and focused on recovery and learning to walk again.

“I just never accepted that I would not be able to return to doing those things I love most,” says MJ. “I knew the road to recovery would be difficult, but I had no idea what the future would hold.”

After seven months of working with Occupational Therapists at the GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre, MJ was able to walk out of the Centre on her own. Throughout her life she has continued to make choices that have allowed her to live the active, fulfilling lifestyle she always dreamed of – regardless of any challenges she may face.

“The accident has never stopped me from participating in the things I enjoy in life,” continues MJ. “You have to keep on keeping on.”

Which is exactly what she did in 2018 when she chose to move into Tapestry’s Wesbrook Village location. The community’s award-winning focus on wellness, which includes the unique staffing of professional kinesiologists who develop and deliver fitness programming for residents, was one of the main reasons MJ chose Tapestry.

Since moving in, MJ has participated in a variety of activities including her favourites, Balance and Bands, Balloon Volleyball and the Ride to Conquer Cancer. With the support of Rachel Pidgeon, Wesbrook’s Kinesiologist, MJ set her sights on participating in the Vancouver Sun Run. 

Rain or shine MJ and Rachel began weekly training by walking one hour three times a week. The goal was to not only see how far MJ could walk, but to also beat their previous times, as MJ is competitive by nature.

“Walking still requires my full concentration,” says MJ. “I am always thinking just one foot in front of the next to keep me moving forward. It’s not until after the walk, when I sit down and relax, that I can really think about what I just accomplished.”

After months of training, MJ and Rachel together challenged the 2.5 km Vancouver Sun Run course. It was an emotional moment as MJ crossed the finish line with purpose and pride, cheered on by fellow Tapestry residents and employees. MJ’s inspiring achievement was even captured by Global News Television

“It was a special moment to get on television,” says MJ. “I felt very accomplished and proud, and I knew that this was something my children would see on TV.” 

Living at Tapestry allows MJ to continue to embrace her passion for life and face any of the challenges that happen along the way head on. She continues to be an inspiration to many at Tapestry.

“I work out six days a week, attending both fitness classes and personal training. I also attend art classes twice a week,” says MJ, who is focused finding on her next great challenge. “If I can do this, anyone can.”

Tapestry’s unique focus on wellness and helping residents live active, vibrant and socially-connected lives – just like MJ – was recognized in 2021 when all four communities were named among the top 25 “Best in Wellness” senior lifestyle communities in North America. Tapestry’s newest community in Victoria was named number one in wellness in North America as a winner of the coveted Pinnacle Award.