Alive to Strive’s 2013 Race Champion Keeps an Active Lifestyle for Long-term Health

Twenty years ago, Ottawa resident Diana Aiello was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease.  As her kidney function decreased, Diana began daily dialysis treatments that left her too exhausted and lethargic to be physically active.

Today, Diana hits the gym five days a week and keeps fitness a top priority thanks to a fitness grant from the Alive to Strive Kidney Fitness Project.

“The fitness grant has changed my life,” says Diana, who does yoga, strength training and zumba. “I have more drive and ‘pep’ to do things with my ten year-old daughter. I feel like a new person.” Diana received a one-year membership to the Athletic Club and worked with a personal trainer. She lost 23 pounds and 20 inches in the first 3 months.

“Over the years, being sick and on dialysis, I lost a lot of muscle mass,” reflects Diana. “Now my muscles are coming back. I enjoy activities again, like bike rides and walks, and playing with my daughter. I am much happier, mentally and physically.”

Alive to Strive offers fitness and weight loss grants to patients of the Ottawa Hospital who are on dialysis or with kidney function below 30 per cent.

In recognition of her results, Diana was named this year’s Alive to Strive Race Champion. “I want to inspire others with kidney disease, to serve as an example of what is possible when you make that promise to yourself to be healthy and active.”

Funding for the Alive to Strive Kidney Fitness Project is made possible through the Alive to Strive Race, which is taking place on April 28 at the Terry Fox Athletic Facility.

Diana will participate in the 5km race on a team with other Ottawa Hospital dialysis patients. “I’m looking forward to getting to the start line with my team. We each have a story of how we got there.”

Reflecting on how far she’s come, Diana is committed to her long-term health. “I want to stay strong and healthy to be ready for a kidney transplant. I would like to have a longer life for my daughter. She is my life and what I live for.”

And that is what being alive to strive is all about.

Register online for the Alive to Strive Race before April 24.

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