Seventy-six year old Lazar Buhalo works on his upper body strength with personal trainer Reese Wonnacott. Buhalo decided to work out after chemotherapy left him with nerve damage in his legs.

Seventy-six year old Lazar Buhalo works on his upper body strength with personal trainer Reese Wonnacott. Buhalo decided to work out after chemotherapy left him with nerve damage in his legs.

Never too old to exercise

After going to specialists in neurology and circulation issues, Mission man told there was nothing left they could do for him.

Don’t tell Lazar Buhalo that working out is a game for the young.

The 76-year-old Mission man has been exercising with a personal trainer for the past six months and he’s feeling better than he has in years.

But it wasn’t an easy road to get to the gym.

Buhalo had been diagnosed with colon cancer and had to undergo chemo and radiation therapy.

“Afterwards there was quite a bit of nerve damage, particularly in my legs.”

After going to specialists in neurology and circulation issues, Buhalo was told there was nothing left they could do for him.

“It got to the point that I couldn’t walk more than 30 metres.”

Frustrating for a man who still loved to go canoeing. He was forced to rig a pulley system to get himself in and out of his canoe because his legs couldn’t hold him.

Being forced to sit all the time just made his circulation issues worse and caused him more pain.

He became more and more frustrated until he happened to drive by a sandwich board sign advertising a personal trainer.

“I thought well, we’ve tried everything else let’s give this one a try.”

That’s when he met Reese Wonnacott and Buhalo’s life started to change.

“I came in and talked to Reese about what the problem was and he set up a particular program, just to work on my legs.”

After eight months of being “almost crippled” Buhalo said he was ready to give it a try.

Two months later, his legs were functioning again, to the point that he could resume walking.

“I walk about a kilometre a day now.”

After showing such positive results, Buhalo decided to start working on his upper body as well.

Wonnacott, who runs ProFormance Fitness in Mission, said from the moment Buhalo came in, he knew he could help him.

“Everybody has their own ailments and issues and he seemed eager so I was happy to work with him. He had already taken the first step, just walking through the door. That’s always the hardest part.”

Wonnacott put together a program that took into account his client’s health issues, goals and age.

“It started off pretty simple. You just have to get somebody moving.”

He started Buhalo with footwork drills to move his feet and regain control of each step. Then moved on to speed and agility and improving range of motion.

“Everything seems to have progressed well. I’ve been impressed with him. He’s really powered through,” said Wonnacott.

As a personal trainer, Wonnacott knows the benefits of remaining active and tries to promote it.

“It’s about quality of life. What kind of life do you want to be living? How long do you want to live it?”

He said he trains a lot of people in their retirement years and “they see the benefit.”

Buhalo is now a believer. He still works out three days a week and plans to continue.

“I’m 76 so I figure I should go for another 10 years with a personal trainer.”

And when he’s not working out, he’s happy to go out on the water in his canoe, with no need of a pulley.


Just Posted

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Kalyn Head, seen here on June 4, 2021, will be running 100 kilometres for her “birthday marathon” fundraiser on July 23. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Woman’s 100-km birthday marathon from Chilliwack to Abbotsford will benefit Special Olympics B.C.

Kalyn Head hopes run raises awareness, advocates for inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities

Missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs was found deceased on Thursday evening (June 17).
Body of missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs found

Hobbs was reported missing Monday after leaving his job site in Langley

UFV athletes were honoured for their strength and perseverance during the pandemic. (UFV photo)
Fraser Valley athletes recognized in year without sports

UFV Cascades athletes honoured for strength shown during the pandemic

Mission students hold rally, say everyone welcome at school

Ecole Christine Morrison Elementary School hosted an Anti-Racism Day on June 15

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Surrey Fire Service battled a dock fire along the Fraser River late Friday night (June 18). It was on Musqueam Drive, near Industrial Road, around 10:45 p.m. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
VIDEO: Fire engulfs pier on Surrey side of the Fraser River

Dock has reportedly been unused for a long time

People in Metro Vancouver can expect to experience a short wave of heat just in time for Father’s Day, according to Environment Canada. (Black Press Media files)
Short-lived heatwave headed for Metro Vancouver this weekend

Temperatures are expected to be up to 10 degrees higher than average Sunday and Monday

Most Read