Inspired to help others get back into the swing of things
Published Thursday, December 27, 2012 3:32PM MST
Last Updated Thursday, December 27, 2012 6:49PM MST
Suffering a stroke can bring sudden and drastic changes to a life.
Every week, in both summer and winter, a group of Calgarians who are recovering from strokes get together for camaraderie and to work on their golf game.
In the winter, the group meets indoors at Schanks South for some golf instruction followed by food and fellowship.
The man who's always there to teach and encourage is Don Podgurny. Podgurny saw the need for the group after a friend of his suffered a stroke.
“He was having difficulty accepting it,” says Podgurny. “The golf gave him, first of all, a social outing. Secondly, he found that he could really do something that was relatively normal.”
Those who benefit from Don's coaching say he's a real inspiration to them.
“I look at him as coach, advocate, mentor and he does all that,” says Keith Stephens, who is recovering from a stroke. “When we have new people, especially females that are struggling to golf, he is so kind to them. They don't even want to come if he isn't here.”
“Don is just so helpful,” says Margaret Symington. “He's so encouraging. He's just really wonderful. He really takes his time with you.”
Stephens says Don's commitment to fitness is admirable.
“He has a run around the Glenmore Reservoir, even at forty below,” says Stephens. “When he shows up the first thing I'll ask him is 'Did you run this morning Don?' ‘Oh yeah’.”
Don says while he teaches the group members about golf, the members of the group motivate each other.
“When you see these people and some of the handicaps that they overcome it really does inspire you,” says Podgurny.
Don Podgurny has a long history as a volunteer in the city's sports community. In the early 1980’s, he served as president of the Calgary Booster Club.
For all he does to help people gain back some of the life a stroke robbed them of, Don Podgurny is this week’s Inspiring Albertan.