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From Transplant to Tai Chi

Richard Link and studentsPaying it Forward
Former transplant patient teaches Tai Chi classes for fellow transplant patients

Richard Link steps to the head of the class and begins a series of slow, deliberate movements including "Waving Hands in the Clouds" and "Stroking the Bird's Tail." Link teaches free Tai Chi classes designed speci?cally for transplant patients and their support person.

"Coming to these classes has really helped me with my balance and strength," said Bill Palmer. He says the classes are good because even if you are limited in your movement you can still do the different positions. Palmer was placed on the transplant list in August 2010. That's when he learned about the Tai Chi class Link teaches and wanted to learn more. Palmer started coming to the classes with his wife before he had his liver transplant. He now comes regularly since having his transplant last December at Methodist University Hospital Transplant Institute.

Link is a retired Senior Master Sergeant in the United States Air Force. He is certified to teach Tai Chi for Beginners, Tai Chi for Arthritis and Tai Chi for Diabetes. Link is also a former transplant patient. He received a new kidney 10 years ago and learned firsthand the importance of a good exercise program to increase strength, stamina and achieve overall good health. "After the transplant, I was pretty weak, out of shape and overweight," said Link. "I wanted to get my energy back. It was tough just walking to the mailbox and doing the simplest chores." He became interested in the slow, gentle form of Tai Chi and thought it would be perfect for transplant patients to help build up their strength and stamina. "I have received the best care that anyone could possibly have from the transplant staff," said Link. "I wanted to find a way to give something back. By offering free Tai Chi classes to transplant patients and their support person, I have found a way to help other transplant patients."

For more information about free Tai Chi classes for transplant patients and their support person contact Richard Link at 581-8456 or link1945@aol.com.

Photo: Richard Link (in front) leads Tai Chi students (l-r) Rufus Jones, Yvonne Jones and
Bill Palmer. The class is free for transplant patients and their support person.