Christine Togni, Aquatics Instructor at the Harcum Fitness and Aquatic Center, was named the Adult Honoree at the 2018 Jingle Bell Run held on December 1, 2018. She was selected because of her affiliation with the Arthritis Foundation since 1995–when she first became certified to teach classes.
She is an Advocate for the Arthritis Foundation, has attended the Advocacy Summit in Washington DC. , and hopes to attend the next Summit in March, 2019. She has also been an Arthritis Foundation Support Group Leader at two locations, and is currently taking additional training to lead a support group at the Harcum Fitness and Aquatic Center, in addition to teaching her water aerobics classes.
“I am passionate about teaching at the Harcum Fitness and Aquatic Center. My greatest joy comes from helping people feel better physically and emotionally,” she explains.
Christine’s story started in 1991 when she began to experience extreme pain and weakness in both arms. By 1993, her quality of life had greatly declined and surgery was highly recommended. The surgery required removing 3 discs and bone spurs from her neck, replacing the discs and recuperating for 12 weeks.
It was then that her surgeon recommended she contact the Arthritis Foundation to locate a pool where she could attend aquatics classes that focus on range-of-motion, flexibility, and endurance. She attended classes 3 times per week and was amazed at how she regained her upper body strength and, in general, how well she felt after each class. Equally important was the emotional support she received and friendships she made!
She was so impressed by this “program” that she decided to become certified to teach these wonderful classes and completed her training in 1995. She has been leading classes ever since and was responsible for introducing these classes to five different locations.
“I hope my story will inspire and encourage others to seek support through my classes as well as the support group that will begin in 2019,”Christine states. “I want to ‘pay it forward’ and help others achieve the same physical and emotional well-being I have been blessed with.”