Resident proves to be ‘perfectly’ persistent

Middletown, Pennsylvania Monday February 24, 2020

When Phyllis Spyker faced an obstacle that seemed overwhelming, she persisted. When she came close to a goal, she kept at it. When others might have felt dejected, she smiled and laughed.

Spyker, 84, came to live at Frey Village following a stroke in 2004. With the help of a therapist who, she says, “would not let me quit,” she recovered her ability to walk, assisted by a walker. She also worked with a speech therapist to regain the ability to speak.

One effect of the stroke lingered, however—Spyker could not use her right hand, her bowling hand.

The fact discouraged her, but did not defeat her.

She had bowled in a league for about 10 years before the stroke; now, using the Wii gaming system at Frey Village, she was determined to bowl again.

“I trained myself to bowl left-handed,” she says. “I practiced every day. And I have a lot of faith in God.”

“I think we all get a little spunky as we get older!”

She now regularly bowls Mondays and Thursdays with another resident or two. On average, she says, her scores are in the 200 to 220 range.

Not long ago, she scored 299, one point shy of a perfect game. But a few weeks after that, that perfect game happened!

“I wasn’t necessarily trying to get a perfect score, but I was very excited when I did,” she says. “I’ll keep trying and maybe I’ll do it again!”

When she first arrived at Frey Village, Spyker recalls, a fellow resident immediately encouraged her to do things and stay involved. Today, she says, she pays that forward: “Now I’m an encourager, telling others not to give up, that they can do it.”

She welcomes a few other changes in herself.

“I used to be shy,” she says. “Now I’m not afraid to speak up about something if I feel it’s right. I think we all get a little spunky as we get older!”

Phyllis Spyker and her perfect score!

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