360 members are the real winners
Story by Jennifer Longdon
Photos by Loren Worhtington
Jake Gort works out twice a day at the Ability360 Sports & Fitness Center. That’s right, twice a day, Monday through Friday.
“I get there at 6:00 a.m. every morning for weight lifting and regular gym stuff. I usually stay until 7:30 or 8:00,” Gort said. “I come back in the evening for my workout with my Touchstone therapist. Monday, Wednesday and Friday we’re in the pool. Tuesdays and Thursdays, I work out upstairs.”
Gort credits his intense workout regime with his progress recovering from a brain injury two years ago. He started his workouts as a wheelchair user, progressed to using a walker, then two canes and as of two weeks ago, he now walks with a single cane. The 26-year-old Gort describes himself as a jokester who likes helping people.
“I love this place! It means the world to me,” Gort said. “Whenever I’m having a bad day, I could just sit in the lobby and it would put me in a good mood.”
This will be his second year playing in the Ability360 Charity Golf Tournament. When asked what he would want the rest of his foursome to know he said: “I want them to see me as a pretty average guy who uses a cane.”
This will also be the second year that 41-year-old David Banks plays in the tournament. Banks, a prosthetist, lives with an above-the-knee amputation. He discovered the Ability360 Sports & Fitness Center three years ago when he wanted to play stand-up amputee basketball. He then helped establish the three-on-three stand-up amputee basketball tournament, the Cactus Classic.
“This center is important and necessary. I tell all my patients,” Banks said. “I tell them it’s a great place to meet great people, make friends and connect.”
Banks laments that he does not get to the Sports & Fitness Center as often as he’d like because he lives too far away. He’s looking forward to playing in this year’s golf tournament. He hopes he’ll get a chance to tell people less familiar with the facility about its magic.
“When you’re new to disability, you feel alone and lost and not part of anything,” Banks explains. “People have tons of questions and don’t seem to know a lot of people who can relate to them now. At the Sports Center you meet others who share your disability and experience a lot of what you do. You don’t feel so alone anymore.”
Sponsorship opportunities are still available.
Please visit 360GolfTournament.org for details or contact Meghan Fable, Director of Development, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jennifer Longdon is a Phoenix-based writer, speaker and advocate.