By Diann Darnall
For Senior Voice 

Decision, determination pay off


February 1, 2021 | View PDF

Diann Darnall photo

North Pole's Goldie Southwood.

In March 2020, Alaska International Senior Games athlete Goldie Southwood made a decision that had a huge impact on her life. Goldie's big heart has led her to be an awesome volunteer in her North Pole community. However, she spent so much of her day helping others that she ignored herself and her health was declining.

With COVID shutting her community down, Goldie was fighting depression. Using her time to think about herself for a change, she decided that her health was important to her. So she took action and exercised more, ate healthier and kept a diary.

In March she was walking 2,000 to 3,000 steps a day. She started exercising via Zoom with the Fairbanks North Star Borough Parks and Recreation program two to three times a week, and on Tuesdays and Thursdays she utilized back and shoulder rehab exercises.

By May she was up to 10,000 steps a day, seven days a week and is still continuing her walking and exercise routines into 2021.

By fall, during her annual wellness exam, Goldie shocked her doctor in a good way. All her lab tests improved. She had reversed her decline.

Goldie, who turns 78 in February, has found more energy, aches less, sleeps better, her acid reflux disappeared, her positivity returned, and she lost 36 pounds. Yeah, Goldie!

She still volunteers and helps others, just remotely now and after her priorities.

Thank you Goldie for your inspiration.

Are you thinking about a change? Decide, take the first step, and go for it.

Diann Darnall is the director of the board president of the Alaska International Senior Games. The 2021 Alaska International Senior Games for those age 50 and older are scheduled for August 6-15 in North Pole and Fairbanks. For more information about AISG go to


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