Susan Weiland and her husband, David Wurts, have both struggled with their health over the years in different types of ways. Susan was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in 1990 and is limited physically. The mobility she has is mostly derived from her electric-powered wheelchair. David, on the other hand, is on the Asperger’s spectrum and endures other clinical challenges. That said, the pair rarely ever miss time at the gym, and they use it as a place to build themselves up.
Susan began noticing symptoms of MS around 1985. “When [MS] started, I was a checker in a grocery store. I had just gone through a really stressful situation. It was 1990 when I got diagnosed with MS. They found lesions on my brain. I knew then I was going to be a workout person,” she said, “I never got into it [going to the gym] 'till I found out I had MS. Once I found that out, that was my turning point. I had also gained an awful amount [of weight] when I had my son. I just started working out every day.”
While the couple has been on a long journey, they have seen a lot of progress and can tell the difference when they miss time in the gym. “I know if he gets in a mood, it helps him to go workout; it makes him feel 100 percent better,” said Susan.
As for David, “I’m high functioning Asperger’s, so I have challenges - clinical depression and high functioning autism as well. The gentle and firm guidance from Susan in that moved me to the center of the road,” he said.
Susan is not on any medications and is no longer taking any injections for MS. “I’ve been stabilized for two years. I work out hard and eat right,” she said. David helps Susan in many ways including with an extensive food preparation process for proper nutrition, but also on her fitness journey in the gym, where the couple met.
“One day, I was observing her, then I had a very strong thought and impression that I would be involved with this woman, but now was not the time. Then three or four years later I was settled into my routine of going to the Better Bodies (gym) on main street at 3:30 PM. Then I had the same grain of thought to change my time to the morning. It was almost like an order. That’s when Susan was working out and our paths crossed,” said David. “One of the things that endured me to Susan was her indomitable spirit and her can do attitude. I fell in love with her attitude before I fell in love with her, the woman.”
“In the journey we have strengthened one another and edified one another. Both of us have grown in mind, body, and soul as a result of our wanting to be fit. Our affiliation with the gym is like a family. There has been so much learning and exchanging of not only health tips and how to do a routine properly, but also in sharing our life experiences. It’s community," David continued.
The couple tries to work out together every day for an hour a day, even if they are out of town. Susan spends a lot of time in the gym trying to encourage others. “Working out is a lot of fun because you get to meet so many interesting people and get to see where they are going. It’s been a real fun ride. It’s going to continually be a fun ride because I’m going to keep going until the day I die,” she added.