If you're a member of the Dan Abraham Healthy Living Center in Rochester, odds are you have run into Martin Souhrada. As a media and new membership coordinator, Martin has been center stage since the center opened in 2008. "He's a very visible person here at the Healthy Living Center," Martin's manager, Lisa Brink, tells us. "He's been a key cornerstone of this facility." So it should come as no surprise that Martin's co-workers and Health Living Center members stepped up (literally and figuratively) to support him when he was diagnosed with a brain tumor, temporarily putting one of his signature wellness goals on hold.
"He has this 50-year health plan, and it involves doing 50 flights of stairs on Fridays to stay healthy and stay active," Brink tells us. "We were in the hospital visiting him after his surgery last Thursday, and he talked about how his doctors weren’t going to let him do his 50 flights the following day. And I said, 'Well, I think we can find a few people who'd be willing to fill in for you this week.' And that's how it got started."
Brink returned to the office and brought the idea to the rest of her team, who handle social media efforts for the Healthy Living Center. "We came up with the hashtag #50FlightFriday and started promoting it." The request: take a picture of yourself walking flights of stairs for Martin, and then post it on Twitter or the Healthy Living Center's Facebook page in his honor. And it spread from there, inside Mayo and into the community. The Century High School girls track team even got in on it, Brink says. "We've had a lot of other people from the community do it and send in pictures to let us know they were doing flights for Martin." His 50 flights were covered many times over. In fact, the "unofficial total" is more than 8,000 flights of stairs combined.
Brink tells us that Martin and his wife, Mickey, who works in Administration at Mayo, were closely watching the action from Martin's hospital room. "It was phenomenal," Brink says. "They were monitoring things on Facebook and Twitter, and responding to people and thanking them for taking the time to do this. They were very grateful, and I think overwhelmed by just how many people were willing to participate."
You can still participate in #50FlightFriday this coming Friday. And be sure to step up and share your comments below and then share this story with others.