Donna Davis, a 79-year-old member at In-Shape West Lane, hopes that her story will help just one person realize that if you get in there, and do the work, exercise can change your life. How did exercise change Donna’s?


A diabetic with one kidney, Donna joined because her kids urged her to try to build some muscle and increase her balance after suffering a few falls. Little did she know how much her life would change as a result.


She went to In-Shape West Lane and signed up with a Trainer to learn the basics. She started out meeting with Romeo three to four times a week. Now, three years later, she continues to work out with him one day a week.  When she isn’t working out with Romeo, she hits the club five days a week for 90-120 minutes each time. She can’t get enough of that post exercise glow.


Three months ago, her insurance company called her to see if she wanted to take advantage of a new benefit. The insurance company organized a nurse that would check in on Donna every month.


The first call proved incredibly eye-opening. When the nurse asked Donna about her kidney, it revealed how little she knew about the health of her only kidney. The nurse let her know her kidney was only working at 22 per cent. Donna couldn’t believe she was on the path to dialysis. She’d been on insulin and metformin for 30 years and it had taken its toll on her kidney.


She called her GP right away who said not to worry. With this conflicting advice, they took some tests. To her surprise, her test results were fantastic and revealed she no longer needed insulin. Thanks to her new healthy diet and active lifestyle, she could come off the medicine she’d been on for 30 years to treat her diabetes.


“Getting in shape is a side effect. I’m really at the gym for my health,” she says.  When people tell her she’s too old to be doing what she does, she says, “I’m too old NOT to be doing it.”


Donna shared this news with Joe Schillace, the area manager, and he made her day. He was so excited that he called the entire team at West Lane together and asked her to tell her story. Everyone was pumped for her and she felt incredibly supported and celebrated.


Although she is very self-motivated, she gives a lot of credit to Romeo for his tips and all the encouragement over the years. She also appreciates the never-ending support of her family.


“Sometimes Romeo has to tell me to take it down a notch. He always has my back and keeps an eye on me to make sure I’m safe and don’t overdo it. He even helps me monitor my blood sugar,” she said about Romeo. 


On the days she isn’t training with Romeo she does 15 minutes on the elliptical, 30 minutes on the treadmill, the 29-Minute Circuit three times and then another 30 minutes on the treadmill.


She doesn’t eat bread or use sugar anymore, and while she does occasionally eat oatmeal for breakfast, it’s usually a protein shake and some fruit. Chicken, tuna, lettuce and cottage cheese are staples for her where it used to be all about bread.  Incredibly, she’s been off the diabetic medicine for months and her A1C is maintaining at what is was before her medicine.


Her number one piece of advice?


“Just do it – just exercise. And I mean get your heart rate up and keep it up for a while. Watch what you eat, but you really need to work out and keep moving,” she said.


We’re so proud of you Donna! Not only is your hard work and dedication inspirational, but you’re a valuable part of the community at West Lane – we are lucky to have you. Keep it up!