Roger Kazmierczak, 68, and Pastor Mike Schendel, 64, have been best friends for over 30 years, starting when they were youth leaders with their kids.
This past winter their friendship grew even stronger as they shed over 130 pounds collectively through Altru’s Weight Management Program.
The duo started their journey on November 13, 2014. “Rather than gain weight over the holidays, we started losing,” chuckles Mike.
Motivated by Family
“My main reason for wanting to lose weight was to stay healthy for my family,” explains Mike. “My wife had a stroke 10 years ago, and I’m her caregiver. Before joining the program, I was flirting with weight causing serious health issues. I also want to be there for my daughters and granddaughters.”
Roger shares, “My daughter, Rachel [Aure], has been after me for some time about my weight.” Rachel is a health and wellness coach with Altru’s Weight Management Program. She continues, “In the past couple of years, I felt like my dad was not himself. He seemed depressed some days. He was not managing his diabetes well. Medications were increasing. He was approaching retirement, and I feared he wouldn’t enjoy it.”
Both from Stephen, Minnesota, they drove 50 miles to and from Grand Forks weekly throughout the six-month program. The drive gave them time to compare notes and stay accountable to one another. When asked about his experience with Altru’s Weight Management Program, Mike replies, “It’s a bit of an investment, but think of it as an investment in yourself—physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.”
Through hard work and dedication, Roger and Mike have dramatically changed their lifestyles, waistlines and health numbers.
Rachel exclaims, “My dad is back! He is happy, energetic and positive. In the past, you would find him sleeping in the chair at all times of the day. Now, you will find him outside working in the yard, gardening or playing soccer with the grandkids. Even they have noticed a healthier, happier grandpa.”
In addition to the 56 pounds Roger has lost, Mike has also shed a significant amount of weight. In November 2014, Mike weighed-in at 309 pounds. His current weight is now 234 pounds, totaling a 75-pound weight loss.
“Before, I had an honest conversation with my doctor about being overweight and what I needed to do. It was a come-to-Jesus conversation,” Mike explains. “I said, ‘I’m a big boy; tell me the truth.’” Today, he’s on the cusp of reducing medication dosages.
“I am so proud of all that my dad and Mike have accomplished,” beams Rachel. “They’ve even taught me a thing or two!”
Enjoy a festive night at Altru’s Gala September 26. One hundred percent of funds raised will support Altru’s Healthy ‘n Fit Initiative, which includes Altru’s Weight Management Program and Healthy ‘n Fit Kids and Families. Your support will enable us to provide outreach to our community and healthy living education. Tickets are available through September 18. Learn more >>