If there’s one thing Tessa Sollom Williams loves, it’s working up a sweat.
A former professional ballerina, the London native is crazy about fitness. And despite being 90 years old, she never missed the exercise classes at her assisted-living facility in Washington, D.C… until the novel coronavirus pandemic began. She hasn’t been able to attend since, or visit her daughter, Tanya Wetenhall. But all she has to do is look out her window to keep smiling.
From her eighth-floor apartment window at Residences at Thomas Circle, Tessa can see the newly-renovated rooftop of Balance Gym, where Devin Maier teaches outdoor fitness classes. She’s been watching these workouts every day, and according to Tanya, they’ve made a huge difference for her mental well-being!
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The mother and daughter talk on the phone daily, and Tessa lights up every time they chat about the rooftop classes.
“In a way, this was a lifeline for her, to see people in motion,” Tanya told The Washington Post. “You think you’re doing something for yourself, but it’s really a thread of life that’s being extended to someone else.”
Moved, Tanya decided to thank the gym in an email. Little did she know it was the boost they needed! Since the pandemic began, the gym has lost half its members. But knowing the classes spread joy beyond the building inspired the staff to do something special for Tessa.
“Our building is old, and it’s kind of ratty, but the email got us thinking: If we were looking out the window every day, what could we put up there to give people a reason to be inspired and motivated to keep moving?” Devin said.
They decided on a simple yet powerful mural, recruiting graphic designer Madelyne Adams and a group of volunteers to paint the message, “Keep moving” on October 23. Tessa loved it!
“I hope it reminds people that they have to smile and stay determined,” Tessa said. “Keep moving, no matter what.”
What a sweet tribute to Tessa! From finding hope to spreading it, this mural is a beautiful representation of her resilience.
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