Tracy Boyd, a 59-year-old Langley City resident, suffered a series of strokes five years ago that left her paralyzed on the left side of her body.
Once strong and active, Boyd said she struggled with the motivation to get moving again ever since.
When the documentary TV series Mind Set Go began a search for subjects to showcase for their third season, Boyd jumped at the chance to take part and try to regain her independence and former lifestyle.
“Someone I know contacted me and said you should do this, so I checked it out, did an interview, and it just went from there,” she explained.
Three months of production ensued during the summer of 2019, which involved film crews coming to Boyd’s home and accompanying her to workouts.
“I was assigned a Paralympian trainer to run exercises with,” Boyd recalled, a routine she has carried on with even after cameras stopped rolling.
The end goal through training and the duration of filming Mind Set Go was for Boyd to make it up the hill at Queen Elizabeth Park.
“People say that’s a small hill, and yeah, it is… if you’re walking! People don’t realize how hard it is to go uphill in a wheelchair,” she said, adding muscles in shoulders can easily be worn out – even damaged without proper exercise and care.
Boyd began lifting weights and doing sit-ups in order to get up the hill – taking part in adapted exercises that she simply described as “creative.”
Ever the athlete, Boyd has simultaneously become an avid curler, earning a bronze medal at this year’s B.C. Wheelchair Curling Championships in Cloverdale.
She stressed that she had help along the way through everything to keep her motivated, including support from her wife, Roxy, and her service dog, Mars.
“Mars is a yellow lab. He picks things off the floor for me, opens doors, turns off lights, gets things out of the fridge, and will pass items over to Roxy if I tell him,” Boyd explained.
While a television shoot had potential for becoming too invasive, Boyd – once an actress – said she always looked forward to their arrival.
“The crew was awesome – lots of jokes,” Boyd said. “They just kept you feeling bubbly – even on days you didn’t want to do it.”
Now, after months of prep and editing, season Three of the TV show Mind Set Go, will premiere with Boyd’s episode on Wednesday, April 1 at 5 p.m. on AMI-TV.
“I’m nervous,” Boyd admitted. “They do tell you people can be cruel on Facebook.”
While the synopsis of the show claims “her 60th birthday is looming ahead,” Boyd said she feels anything but her age.
“I don’t feel 60. I’m turning 60 on paper but instead I feel 19, 20,” Boyd laughed.
In fact, despite her life being completely altered by the disablement, Boyd said she feels better than ever before.
“It really is the best thing that ever happened to me. It makes life better because it has challenged me,” Boyd explained.
For anyone who newly finds themselves in a similar position, Boyd recommended that they think positive, keep an active mind, and know that it is not end of the world.
“You can do anything you want to do. Get out and meet people because there are so many people to talk to,” Boyd advised. “Coffee groups… the spinal chord research centre… there’s so many things I couldn’t do without them. Thanks to them I gone rock climbing, kayak and camping – things I never thought possible.”
Boyd said she hopes her episode of Mind Set Go helps inspire anybody to reach for their goals, and likewise to exercise and keep healthy – regardless if they are in a wheelchair or not.
“I would do it again in a heartbeat,” Boyd said of the experience.
More information about the episode can be found at www.ami.ca/category/mind-set-go.
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