Mary Bowen Story


I had a stress test a year ago and they said I got a body like a 20-year-old.

Everybody calls her Crazy Mary. It's always an adventure with you, Mary.

If you tell her she can't do something, she will be the one to prove you that she can.

You know, there's a lot to do. Just because you're 80, doesn't mean that the world isn't open to you.

She had hip replacement surgery. And upon coming home, she had fallen and shattered everything that they had just fixed.

Quite honestly, I thought we might be saying goodbye. And it was really hard.


You can either be in a wheelchair, be in a walker, be a cane, or you can walk by yourself. I did my job. The rest is up to you.

Exhale. Inhale. Up. Mary'll try anything.

I did a few things on the Pilates machine. And I fell in love with it. And I fell in love with Sharon at that time.

Beautiful work, Mary. Good job.

Sharon is a very positive, very caring person. She's like a daughter to me now.

She's not 80. I have 40-year-olds that don't do what she does. She could feel that it made her stronger and gained her that flexibility, balance, and agility.

She's an adventurous woman. She has a list of things that she wants to complete. It was out of the blue. Called me up, said what do you think about Uganda.

She wanted to go see the silverback gorillas on her bucket list. And I'm like, you want to do what.

I signed up for it. And then, I started realizing, oh my god, we're gonna be climbing at 7,000 feet. We're gonna be climbing 80 degree hills. And if you can't keep up, you're gonna be left by the side of the track. And then, I began to get scared. So I said Sharon, this is what I've done. Please, can you help me work with these muscles and get me the sense of balance that I'm gonna need.

Put it back on. Then, roll down.

We would work with a Pilates chair. And I would just kind of step away from her and she would recognize that she was doing it on her own. And it would just build her confidence.

So when we were walking down the path, we came to a parting in the woods. And there was a family of gorillas. And the moment my mom first saw them, just tears of joy.

She was kind of glued to my side. You know, she wouldn't let me fall. And we started crying and hugging each other.

Seeing her accomplish what she had worked so hard for, it was moving. It still is.

There's something special about those gorillas. I just felt like I bonded with them. It was rough going.

I didn't know if you should go on this one.

I kept thinking, Sharon taught me this, Sharon taught me that, you know, because I was using muscles that she taught me. And I'd think, oh, I wished I could've put her in my backpack sometimes.

It was definitely the fuel behind her fire. She wanted to prove to everyone that she could do it. And she did.

I think it stretched me beyond what I thought I could do. I knew I could dig within. And I knew that I had been trained for this. I'm proud of myself. I really am. I'm gonna age gracefully.


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