A century is not enough for Maude Brown, who continued to dance around the Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital Cardiac Rehab Gym on her birthday Monday.
After greeting 350 friends and family members representing four generations at a party over the weekend, the hospital staff was glad to have Brown bring her continued energy to the cardiac gym.
“She’s been volunteering here for a long time,” said Ali Wood, clinical coordinator for the heart and lung center.
“She comes in and she greets all the patients and she talks to them and tells them her story and just inspires them to come back and keep going,” said Wood. “She’s like our little mascot.”
Brown worked her way through the gym, welcoming guests like a proper hostess whether they were eating birthday cake or walking on a treadmill. She left smiles and motivation in her wake.
“With her attitude, it’s easy to understand how she made it to 100,” said Fred Eidson, continuing to pedal an exercise bike in an effort to emulate the healthy happy centennial as well as set a good example for younger generations.
Although the spontaneously-dancing Brown inspired joy throughout the room evident by the expressions on everyone’s faces, hospital CEO Paul Hammes was hesitant to follow her lead, citing an inability to compete publicly with the experience of one of his favorite dance partners.
Hammes did, however, lead the group in their appreciation of “Miss Maude’s” service.
“When I was in second grade, I appreciated for the first time the importance of volunteers and hospital work,” said Hammes, crediting his own mother’s continued volunteer work.
“It’s people like Miss Maude who really are the heart and soul of this hospital staff, and she is the connection to this community for Hugh Chatham.
“Thank you for sharing her with us,” said Hammes to the family.
“Thank you for loving our mama,” replied daughter, Linda Lyon, “but you can’t have her.”
According to Brown, some people have tried.
“I have about 300,” said Brown when asked how many children she had, “or at least they want to be.”
The cardiac rehab patients may be among those, according to Wood.
“She’s one of our family. Our patients love her,” said Wood.
“If she’s going to her daughters for a week, they’re worried that something’s happened to Miss Maude.”
Part of the reason may be because of the significant impact Brown makes upon entering the room.
“She never lets anything get her down. If she has a little arthritis pain or anything like that, she keeps working until she gets it all out. She’s just always here with a positive attitude and a smile,” said Wood.
The key to that smile is very simple, “I have a love for God,” said Brown after revealing such a standard answer for long life that most everyone in the room was able to repeat it.
“She tells them her secrets to healthy living is that she always stays active and exercises, and she eats healthy, she gets plenty of sleep, she’s always got a bright smile on her face and a positive attitude,” said Wood. “It gives them hope that they’re going to recover and that they can live a long life too. That’s the biggest thing.”
“Her number one best practices and secret to a long life is dancing,” said Hammes as Brown’s exuberance for life once again became too much for a sedentary body to contain.
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TBeanieTaylor.