One of the most instrumental movers and shakers from the Warm Water Therapy Pool Society, Pat Graham, has died. The 88-year-old was credited as being the backbone of the push for the addition to the Jayman BUILT Aquatic Centre located at Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre. A caretaker to her husband, Gord, who had Parkinson’s and died earlier this year, Pat was on a mission to gain support for the town to include a warm water therapy pool in their concept for the new pool facility. Opened in July 2017, the pool is widely used by people of all ages, stages and ranges of mobility – as warm water has been credited as having positive and even transformative effects for those with a spectrum of physical and mental impairments ranging from Parkinson’s and MS to athletic injuries and even autism. The society raised more than $100,000 to help build the pool and has worked tirelessly to educate the public on the benefits of warm water therapy. “She was determined, tenacious and bright,” said Bob Head, who was contacted by Pat in the early advocacy years nearly a decade ago, to help form the society and push for the therapy pool. “She had a vision – a long-term vision of what could and should be here,” said Head, who was friends with Pat as both had spouses with Parkinson’s at the Bethany Care Centre at that time; his wife, Beverly, died in 2017. Board member Mary Lou Nicolson said that it was without question that Cochrane has the therapy pool to enjoy today because of Pat’s determination then – and at the end. “Just before she died she looked at me and said, ‘You keep that pool going the way we wanted it to go’,” said Nicolson. While the town took a while to warm to the idea of the pool, fellow board members credit Pat as the founder. “We’re going to put a plaque up with a picture of her acknowledging her contributions to the warm water therapy pool,” said society board member Lydia Graham – a former mayor who continues to be an active volunteer in the community. “She certainly steered the ship ... she was very committed and determined.” The society also lost another dedicated volunteer, Richard Foy, to cancer in the fall of 2017. Carolyn Simle, a current user of the therapy pool, said the use of the pool has transformed her life and that she is grateful to volunteers like Pat who are the reason behind it. Simle began experiencing lower back pain two years ago following an accident with a gate falling on her. A range of traditional doctor and medical therapies failed to help her and her pain became debilitating. She soon learned that she was to become wheelchair bound and would be rendered unable to work. Eventually, her research led her to ask her doctor if swimming might be a therapy solution. She began utilizing the warm water pool and said that in a period of weeks she has regained muscle, lost weight and is now walking limp-free. “The therapy pool gave me what every other treatment available had failed to do. After two years of suffering in pain every day, I am just one who is so very grateful to all of the people who fought to have this therapy pool at the (SLSFSC),” wrote Simle in a letter. “Who knew my answered prayer would be found in a pool.” Pat, who spent most of her life in agriculture with her husband, has been an active volunteer for many years since moving to Cochrane to retire. She was also very active with the Bethany Family Council – the family group that fundraises and volunteers to beautify the Bethany and make the environment a better place. “Pat was instrumental in advocating for the partnership between Bethany Cochrane and the warm water therapy pool,” said Jennifer Vance, administrator for Bethany Cochrane. “She liaised our two organizations together and now our residents enjoy weekly bus outings to the pool.” Vance said in Pat’s four years as council co-chair, she helped raise more than $125,000 to go toward residents at the senior care facility , as well as Pat’s white baby grand piano that now calls the senior centre home. A memorial service will be held for Pat and Gord on Dec. 2 at 2:30 p.m. at All Saints Anglican Church.
Her husband, Gordon Graham died after battling Parkinson's. Read his story on the Memorial Wall.
Remembering Patricia Graham
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