Amy’s Walk a remarkable journey of perseverance, tenacity, and focus

Newport Map | Perseverance and Tenacity in GOLCR

Amy Ottilige, who lives in the village of Liberty Park in The Villages, is remarkable! She’s 71 and just completed The Cliff Walk, in Newport, Rhode Island. In total, she walked 6.3 miles of this National Recreation Trail, which runs behind many of Newport’s famous gilded mansions such as Astor’s Beechwood, Rosecliff, Marble House, The Breakers, Ochre Court, and Rough Point, where a bridge is located over an open chasm. Most of The Cliff Walk is paved, and it offers beautiful vistas, tunnels, and long winding pathways. The challenging latter half of The Cliff Walk has unpaved sections and paths along rugged the New England rocky shoreline. Along the walk she navigated a 40-step stairway down and up and then continued her walk. The return path took her along Bellevue Avenue in front of all the beautiful mansions. What makes Amy remarkable is that she suffered a Thrombotic Stroke in 2015 which caused paralysis on the left side of her body!
Meeting Amy for the first time, it was hard to believe that she had suffered a stroke and had been paralyzed on her left side. She began to tell me her story, and it is indeed a story of perseverance, tenacity, and focus. After Amy’s stroke she went to an in-patient physical therapy facility where she began her rehab. She then came to Lake Centre for Rehab (LCR) for more physical and occupational therapy to get her left hand and leg moving again. When she came to LCR she was using a walker to get around. Slowly she progressed to walking sticks. Amy said, “It was the feeling of helplessness that was the hardest, not being able to do things myself and having to rely on others to do even the most basic activities of daily living.” She credits the physical and occupational therapists who helped her come back from the stroke.
After months of rehab, Amy was ready to be released from therapy, but she wanted to keep exercising to continue her rehab. That’s when Amy met Hemant Haraprishad, the exercise physiologist who directs the MedFit program for LCR. Hemant designed an exercise program for Amy to help her gain strength and endurance. As with any long illness, the road to recovery requires determination, and Amy was determined! Amy started her MedFit program in 2016. She came to Lake Centre for Rehab twice a week to exercise. She felt that the environment at LCR’s Lake Sumter Landing clinic was perfect for her needs. Having physical therapists around while she was working out made her feel safe. “You could ask questions and ask for help and the staff was so helpful and made sure I was doing my exercises correctly,” stated Amy “it was just what I needed.”

GOLCR | We Promote Preseverance and TenacityIn 2017, Amy’s husband Jack also suffered a stroke, and she spent months as his caregiver. After his rehab, Amy wanted to refocus on her health but she needed a goal. A native of Rhode Island, Amy always wanted to walk The Cliff Walk. Amy met with Hemant to discuss this idea; she really wasn’t a walker and didn’t know if she’d be able to deal with the terrain that is part of the

6.3 mile walk. Hemant told her he believed she could do it, but she’d need to start training. So in May of 2018, Amy began training for her new adventure.
At first, Hemant wanted her to focus on timed walks, not miles. She started 20-minute walks. Always an overachiever, Amy wanted to do more, but Hemant wanted to build her endurance. Because of her stroke plus diabetes, Hemant wanted to be sure that Amy’s sugar would stay steady, and that her weaker leg would be able to meet the demands of this walk. Soon Amy was walking miles. She used an app, “Map My Walk,” and she designed her own trails throughout The Villages. Soon she was walking 3 miles, 4 miles, 5 miles, and finally 6 miles. Her husband would take the golf cart and meet her throughout her walks, just in case. She was very excited when she achieved her 6 mile walk; she told Hemant she was ready. Hemant asked her to walk 7 miles. She didn’t think she could, but one morning, after walking her 6 miles, she told her husband she was going to keep walking. She walked 7 miles that day.

Preseverance and Tenacity | The Goals of GOLCR

On August 17, 2018, Amy Ottilige walked The Cliff Walk with her son, Todd and daughter-in-law, Stephanie. Todd, three-quarters of the way, thought they should go back to the car. Amy told him she was going to complete her walk, so her son followed. He told her how proud he was of her accomplishments.
What else did Amy accomplish? She started painting again. When she lost the use of her hand and arm, she didn’t think she’d ever be able to paint again. With hand therapy she has regained the use of her hand. She’s been taking classes and practicing her craft. Don’t be surprised if you see some of Amy’s work in upcoming art fairs.
So what’s next for Amy? Golf! When she came to The Villages, she was an avid golfer. She had played all of the executive courses and championship courses from State Road 42 south to State Road 466A. She says she’s going to start working with Hemant again to gain strength in her arms and hands. “You always have a choice to make the effort and you don’t know how it will end, but it is so much better than when you started,” says Amy.

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