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Father, daughter walk to remember health | NOTABLE
Issaquah resident Johann Neethling is undertaking a huge challenge: walking 300 miles from Spokane to Issaquah. Joining him is his daughter, Maria Henderson, a kindergarten teacher at Island Christian Academy in Langley.
Motivated by a desire to maintain and improve his fitness after surviving a heart attack and combined with his vocation as chaplain at Providence Marianwood, Neethling is a passionate advocate for the elderly and is planning to add a fundraising component to his walk, which will benefit the residents and staff at Marianwood.
Neethling, 65, started his walk July 18 and plans to arrive at Providence Marianwood in Issaquah on the afternoon of July 25. His route across the state will take him through wide open farmland and rugged channeled scablands, fruit-laden orchards and many miles of forests and mountains.
Neethling’s wife, Anne Neethling (clinical manager of the Swedish Issaquah Emergency Department), will join them by driving the support vehicle.
A resident of Issaquah since 2003, Neethling is originally from South Africa. He has been the chaplain at Providence Marianwood since shortly after his heart attack in 2007. His doctors convinced him that he needed to make some major changes in his lifestyle, including adopting healthier habits and reducing stress. Since then he has lost 50 pounds and has developed a love of fitness, especially walking.
Last month he walked from Issaquah to Whidbey Island, to Henderson’s house to visit his grandchildren. He also gave up a job with a long commute and enjoys a short trip daily from his home in Klahanie to Marianwood.
“Johann is a great inspiration to all of us at Marianwood,” said Arlene Carter, executive director of the Providence Marianwood Foundation. “As chaplain, he is a valued member of the care team at Marianwood every day. This walk proves his dedication to the elderly residents at Marianwood and to his colleagues who put in long days in sometimes stressful circumstances. That’s a nice win-win!”
Neethling encourages donations in support of his walk to be directed to the Marianwood Bistro Fund. This money will be used to help fund a small bistro and gathering space within Marianwood for both residents and staff.
Donations can be made at www.providencemarianwood.org or by calling 425-391-2895.