Rend Lake College’s Arthritis Aquatics classes helped raise money for the Arthritis Foundation earlier this month by participating in a walk at University Mall in Carbondale. Among the group was Dr. Warren Petty, a member of the RLC Foundation Board of Directors.
According to Deborah Benns, RLC Associate Degree Nursing Professor and instructor of Arthritis Aquatics classes, the walk was held Saturday, May 7. She said the students were asked to participate and they decided to put in a team – the RLC Arthritis Aquatics Water Babies. Team members dressed in summer clothes, carried inflatable lifesaver rings and donned sun visors in keeping with the theme.
Benns said five people were required to be on a team for the Arthritis Walk. The RLC team consisted of at least 15 members, she said.
The objective was to make three trips around the University Mall, a distance of three miles. The group started off together, but each kept his or her own pace.
Petty (Benton) and his wife Phyllis also participated in the walk. A retired dentist, Petty is rehabilitating from a stroke. The Pettys have been regulars at the Aquatics Center, using it to help Dr. Petty’s rehabilitation.
Dr. Petty was able to walk one complete lap around University Mall, the greatest distance he had covered since beginning rehabilitation. He was able to take advantage of a short rest break during the walk as he was interviewed by WSIL-TV Channel 3.
“Phyllis and he are both dedicated,” said Benns. She said Phyllis met her husband about three-fourths of the way around the course with a wheelchair to take him the rest of the way, but Dr. Petty refused.
According to Benns, Dr. Petty wore a shirt that read, “I am what I choose to be.”
“That’s the perfect slogan for him,” said Benns, who acted as team leader. “He is a very determined, very committed man.”
Also among the group was Judy Rose of Benton, who was nine weeks removed from total knee replacement – her fourth surgery. Rose was able to complete the course.
Other walkers hailed from Mt. Vernon, Belle Rive, Sesser and Christopher. The Walk raised more than $30,000. The RLC Water Babies raised the $500 entry fee through bake sales and other fund raisers.
“It was a lot of fun. We had a great time and it was all for a good cause,” said Benns.