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'Age of Champions' to promote healthy aging at UNH Saturday


DURHAM — Faculty and students at the University of New Hampshire want to help Granite State seniors adopt the motto — age like a champion.

This Saturday, UNH’s Center of Aging and Community Living will host a free event to promote healthy living and longevity for older adults. It’s the fifth year for the event, which offers information booths, health screenings and exercise classes.

The event, “Age of Champions,” is inspired by the PBS documentary of the same name. The documentary focuses on five participants in the National Senior Games, an Olympics of sorts for the young at heart.

UNH alums who exemplify what it means to lead a healthy, active lifestyle will receive the “UNH Age of Champions Wildcat Inspirational Award.” Jack and June Liberman of Newport, R.I., Jack Sherburne of Deerfield, and Jim and Carly Hellen of Durham are being honored.

The Libermans have spent 73 years of marriage traveling the world, climbing mountains and sharing adventures. In the fall, Jack went hang-gliding, becoming the oldest person to ever do so at Morningside Flight Park in Charleston.

Sherburne is 93, a World War II veteran, and still running stairs, sprinting around the indoor track, doing push-ups and lifting weights. Jack has also been a walking billboard for the UNH Cardiac Prevention Program and inspired many others to join. The program estimates that a third of its enrollees joined because of Sherburne.

The Hellens were seniors at UNH in 1957 when they met. They married the following year and have spent their lives volunteering, sponsoring refugees and serving on numerous UNH and church groups and Durham town committees. They also worked as Red Cross disaster relief workers following Hurricane Katrina.

Musician and storyteller Stan Davis will open the ceremony with songs and stories of survival, aging, love and life.

“Helping citizens to ‘live well’ across the lifespan requires tactics that are multi-faceted and holistic in nature,” said Allison Wilder, associate professor and faculty fellow at UNH’s Center of Aging and Community Living. “We are thrilled to bring this mission to life through this event. Our goal is to ensure that participants walk away with new knowledge and helpful options to help them gain, or maintain, their ability to be healthy and active.”

Silver Linings is a continuing Union Leader/Sunday news report focusing on the issues of New Hampshire’s aging population and seeking out solutions. Union Leader reporter Gretchen Grosky would like to hear from readers about issues related to aging. She can be reached at ggrosky@unionleader.com or (603) 206-7739. See more at www.unionleader.com/aging.




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