Meet the 2017 Swanson Award Finalists!

By SilverSneakers Fitness |

Now through July 14, you can vote for a SilverSneakers member who has improved their life through fitness.

Swanson Finalists

You nominated them. Now, let’s meet the 10 finalists for the 2017 Richard L. Swanson Inspiration Award, which honors a SilverSneakers member who has improved their life through fitness, while also motivating others to improve their health and well-being.

With SilverSneakers, these finalists have gotten back on track after injuries and surgeries. They’ve taken control of diabetes, arthritis, pain, and their heart health. They’ve dealt with family loss and grief. They’ve run races and competed in fitness events. They’ve discovered new friends—and inspired those around them.

Read their stories here, and vote for your finalist of choice at From July 3 to July 14, you can vote once per day.

Linda M., 68: Taming Arthritis

Garden Grove, California

SilverSneakers Swanson Linda

When severe arthritis limited mobility in her hands, Linda turned to exercise through SilverSneakers. After a year of strengthening her hands three times a week, she’s regained almost full use of them and is able to continue one of her passions: sewing. She now makes themed kitchen towels and sells them at local craft fairs.

Araxy S., 64: Standing Strong Again

Glendale, California

Swanson Araxy

After a handful of surgeries left her with physical challenges, Araxy joined SilverSneakers. Her great accomplishment: regaining her strength. Today, she can stand up from a lying position with no assistance, and she can lift 20-pound weights. Her progress has amazed her family and encouraged her SilverSneakers classmates to embrace a lifestyle of fitness.

Barbara M. (Kentucky), 76: Relieving Back Pain

Florence, Kentucky

SilverSneakers Swanson Barbara Ohio

Barbara experienced debilitating back pain that left her in bed most of the day. Afraid she might have to have surgery, she tried exercise through SilverSneakers. To her surprise, once she became more active, she felt less pain, and had more energy. Barbara credits SilverSneakers with transforming her life.

Aseneth P., 69: Finding Emotional Strength

Harper Woods, Michigan

SilvverSneakers Swanson Aseneth

Aseneth joined SilverSneakers after undergoing knee replacement surgery. Her hope was that cardio and other exercise would help rebuild her physical strength, and it did. But after losing her daughter to breast cancer, Aseneth also found an emotional outlet and resource in SilverSneakers and fitness.

Terry W., 82: Dancing to Health

Lakeville, Minnesota

SilverSneakers Swanson Terry

Terry began attending SilverSneakers with his wife and continues to be an engaged member after she passed away. Terry credits SilverSneakers for helping him stay in shape but also for helping him stay socially active. Among SilverSneakers classmates, he’s known as Dancing Terry because when movements get too quick, he breaks into dance.

John B., 81: Winning at Fitness

Greensboro, North Carolina

SilverSneakers Swanson John

Through SilverSneakers, John trained for his local Senior Games. He competed in 18 events, including swimming, cycling, and track and field, and left as one of the most decorated gold medal winners. Known as his gym’s “senior fitizen,” John says better health has allowed him to pursue hobbies like gardening, wood carving, and now ballroom dancing.

Gary A., 66: Taking Control of Diabetes

Cincinnati, Ohio

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SilverSneakers Swanson Gary

After retiring from the Cincinnati Fire Department, Gary wasn’t sure what to do with his newfound free time. Looking to get more active, he joined SilverSneakers and got back into an old hobby: running. Since then, Gary has lost 85 pounds and gained control of his diabetes. With the support of his family and SilverSneakers friends, he’s now training to run a marathon.

Barbara M. (Ohio), 66: Running for Life

Kettering, Ohio

SilverSneakers Barbara Ohio

An avid runner, Barbara trained for six months and ran her first half-marathon at the age of 62. Now, she’s retired but still competes in 4K and 5K races. Through SilverSneakers, Barbara continues to exercise to keep her heart and mind healthy. Her philosophy: Good physical health is connected to good mental health.

Ruth B., 73: Beating Shoulder Pain

El Reno, Oklahoma

SilverSneakers Swanson Ruth

Ruth was active at her gym when she first learned about SilverSneakers. After pulling a muscle in her shoulder, she tried a SilverSneakers class, where she learned about stretching, breathing techniques, and proper form. Now, Ruth has less pain and more flexibility in her shoulder. Even better, she found a community filled with laughter and fun.

Philip G., 69: Healing His Heart

Newport, Pennsylvania

SilverSneakers Swanson PhilipDuring an annual exam, Philip’s doctor found nine blockages in his heart. He underwent triple bypass surgery and later an additional heart surgery. After these events, he knew he had to take action for his health. Through SilverSneakers, he now goes to the gym and walks three miles every day. He credits fitness for allowing him more time with his family.

Who Will Be the 2017 Swanson Award Winner? It’s Up to You!

Between July 3 and 14, you can vote once per day for your finalist of choice at The winner will be announced on July 17.

You may already be eligible for the SilverSneakers benefit. CHECK YOUR  ELIGIBILITY