Centenarian stays active with Rotary project
Henry Tseng, who will be 101 in July, attended the 99th annual RI Convention. Candy Isaac/Rotary Images
Two things keep Henry Tseng, who turns 101 on 12 July, active: a 6:30 a.m. exercise class at the local YMCA six days a week and his weekly Rotary club meeting. He’s a regular at both.
“If I don’t show up, people worry about me,” says Tseng, a member of the Rotary Club of Westwood Village (Los Angeles), California.
Tseng, a past president of the Rotary Club of Hong Kong who immigrated to the United States in 1975, is at the RI Convention in L.A. this week to promote a partnership project with the YMCA that helps people with Parkinson’s disease.
The project began in 1996 as an act of friendship between Tseng and fellow club member Wally Fischmann. When Fischmann was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, he became despondent and wouldn’t leave his house. Tseng’s club worked with the Westside YMCA and medical experts at the University of California, Los Angeles to create the Parkinsonians Learning Lifelong Useful Skills (PLLUS). The specialized fitness program focuses on helping Parkinson’s patients improve flexibility, posture, and functional mobility while providing an opportunity for patients to stay active and social.
Starting one local class wasn’t enough for Tseng, who has taken the project to booths at Rotary conventions in Buenos Aires, Singapore, and Chicago. Today, there are more than 25 PLLUS programs at YMCAs around the world.
“Rotary gets the word out,” says Ann Samson, executive director of the Westside YMCA. “I love Rotary, we all do. Rotary opens lots of doors.”
Samson says the YMCA will provide $5,000 in start-up funds to any Rotary club that would like to start a PLLUS program at their local YMCA. For more information, visit www.pllus.org.