Francis, 84, grew up on the water in Sarasota, FL. Her eyes light up as she shares her memories of the ocean, for it has always been a huge part of her life. Francis spent her college years competing in synchronized swimming before marrying her husband and becoming a mother to three children. Aside from being a homemaker, Francis took on numerous leadership roles as a volunteer with the local cub scouts and girl scouts. Additionally, she dedicated her years as a volunteer swim instructor to keep her passion alive. Francis remembers teaching all of the different strokes to the same group of kids and the joy of getting to see them progress over the years. In addition to teaching kids how to swim, she also taught lifesaving skills.
Due to some recent health issues, Francis has been a stranger to what she loves most. She and her husband had a boat, which they eventually had to give up as Francis started having balance issues. Francis’ longtime Wish was to get back into a swimming pool, something that she hadn’t done in over 30 years. She explains how being back in the water would be like getting back part of her childhood where she “felt so free”. She misses swimming and that feeling of buoyancy, especially now that she is mostly confined to her wheelchair. Francis elaborates, “I have wanted to go swimming for a long time but didn’t think I could because of being in a wheelchair. I feel like I could fly to the moon. My dreams are big but my ability to do my dreams feels small. Making this dream come true would be quite a feat!”
Wish of a Lifetime partnered with Brookdale to make Francis’ longtime wish become a reality. On June 27th, 2016, Francis was assisted back into the water of a warm water pool to enjoy the thrill of swimming once again. Francis serves as a perfect reminder that no matter the age or conditions, anyone can restore their true passion!
Photo credits: Reid Fuller Photography