Making the Impossible Possible
The 56-year-old Key Largo employee battles aches and pains on a daily basis. She deals with cerebral palsy and dystonia, a disease that forces certain parts of the body into abnormal and painful postures. In addition, Sander had a hip replaced and her left-shoulder repaired two times.
But she still works out 3 days a week.
"Jan is an amazing person. I've been friends with her for several years, and have seen her accomplish things that most people in her situation couldn't accomplish. I think she serves as an example to anyone, to people that are non-disabled, to people that have handicaps," said Melanie Karrick, owner of the Key Largo Fitness and Tanning.
Amazingly, Sander rode in an Octoberfest bike rally, and completed a 150-mile tandem bike race, not once but twice!
All the exercising she does keeps her in shape, but it also keeps her on her feet.
"I have gone to a therapist, I am still going. And she said 'probably if you didn't do what you were doing you'd be in a wheelchair.' And I'm not going to get into that wheelchair until I have to," said Sander.
Jan's constant workouts on the machines at Key Largo Fitness and Tanning are definitely driven by her desire to stay mobile and out of a wheelchair.
But this exercise nut has another very good reason she's constantly working up a sweat.
"My main objective now, I even dream about it, is to be able to get disabled people, physically disabled, to get them in the gym. That's what I would like to do is to get them together somewhere," she added.
And while she chases the dream she continues to prove it's not what you live with but how you live.
Jan's determination in the gym even caught the attention of Mayor Darwin Hindman. She was named a member of the Mayor's council on physical fitness and health earlier in 2006.