Genia’s Story

At 76 years old, Genia is young at heart. Her life has been full of adventure, travel and new experiences. Born and raised in Canada, she lived abroad while raising her three daughters. Genia immersed herself in multiple cultures, learning an impressive five languages and falling in love with the rhythm of every country she travelled to—from Venzuela to London.

As her worlds shifted around her, one thing remained constant: her love of dance.  While Latin dancing will always be her favourite, Genia has a gift for ballet and, after studying alongside a Russian ballet teacher, she even spent time teaching a class herself while working tirelessly to raise her three daughters.

Ten years ago, Genia moved to Oakville and continued working into her late 60s.

Suddenly, due to an infection on her foot, Genia found herself facing severe mobility limitations, and she was confined to a wheelchair for eight months. In that amount of time, the muscles in Genia’s legs—already weakened by the infection—deteriorated, making it difficult for her to go further than a one block radius from her apartment.

“It gets very depressing. I was used to going out all the time… now with my condition I have trouble getting around. I hardly know my own neighbourhood,” she said. “I can’t even do the Cha-Cha anymore,” she jokingly added.

Genia’s already desperate situation was made worse when she went in for a routine surgery to treat pervasive Carpal Tunnel in her hands, after a failed procedure, lost the feeling in six fingers. Not only was Genia confined to her apartment, but she also couldn’t perform daily tasks such as cooking.

Fortunately, Genia is able to rely on the support of United Way, which provides healthy lunches to people in our community just like Genia. With the volunteers’ warm personalities and much needed company, Genia looks forward to their arrival each day.

“I’m so grateful to have help. I really need it,” said Genia earnestly, “it breaks up the loneliness.”

Sitting with Genia in her modest apartment, it’s not hard to see the love she has for her family, and the bittersweet nostalgia that hits from time to time. On looking at the photos of her loved ones, Genia explains, “Some make me sad; but lots make me happy”.

As the world around her has shifted dramatically over the years, she finds comfort in the incredible service that has been made possible through the generosity of donors like you.

Help change lives today.

Scott GallagherGenia’s Story