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2 AFC members, brothers reach weight-loss goal, eager to motivate others

Updated: Jul 10, 2020

Jason and Josh, two members in our Adult Family Care, or AFC, program, recently achieved a significant feat and now want to inspire others. The Russell, Massachusetts, brothers sought to lose weight and improve their overall health. In a matter of six months and following the passing of their adoptive mother in 2017, Jason and Josh moved in with Tim, their foster brother and new caregiver, and his family, who showed the duo how to live a healthier life. They each lost roughly 20 pounds.

From left: Jason, Tim, and Josh sit together in Russell, Massachusetts. Fajita, the family dog, a Chihuahua, sits on Josh’s lap.

The duo began taking walks in the neighborhood, eating smaller meals, fresher foods – fruits and lots of vegetables. Jason, 34, cut back on his daily intake of soda and cookies. Josh began lifting free weights, trying core and body movement exercises, and eating a high-protein diet.

“I wanted to feel good in mind and body. The more active I am, the more things I am able to do,” said Josh, 35, who has mild cerebral palsy and developmental delays. Josh had been advised by his doctor, prior to his weight loss, if he gained another 40 pounds, he might lose the ability to walk.

For Josh, walking came easy. He is already active. Two days a week, he works packaging soaps in a warehouse. He also volunteers doing janitorial work at a local veterans’ cemetery. But for Jason, an avid video gamer and passionate comic book fan with cognitive limitations, the walks were not easy. Jason also has a steel rod in his back due to a childhood accident and must avoid falls and injuries.

Now, the men are familiar faces in the neighborhood.

“They’ve grown in many ways,” said Marilyn Beardslee, VIABILITY Community Living supervisor at 979 Dickinson St. in Springfield, Massachusetts. Marilyn and VIABILITY nurse Mahi Swan visit the brothers monthly to ensure they receive proper care, guidance, and are appropriately supervised by their caregiver in a safe environment. “Through Tim’s concerted effort, they’ve become more socially involved, have grown emotionally, and enjoy improved health.”