Nell CK: Starting to realize her ability


Photo: Nell Coonen-Korte stands ready to deadlift 125lbs on a barbell at the Special Olympics Minnesota State Powerlifting Meet. She has three volunteers around her, two judges and a spotter.

Nell joined our community 5 years ago and while she was passionate about sports, she didn’t feel healthy, didn’t like how she looked and she wanted to get stronger and lose weight. Since then, she's lost 175 pounds and taken up powerlifting - in fact, she can deadlift more weight than she’s lost!

For years prior to joining, Nell struggled with her body image and fitness - she tried different types of programs and trainers, but she never found a good fit. She never found people who would help her work around the perceived limitations she experienced and she wasn’t able to get explanations for questions she'd ask. She was told she simply didn’t try hard enough.

She was told what she couldn’t do because she had a disability

When asked why she wants to be more involved with Thrive Mighty, she said she knows there are a lot more people out there like her - they want to make a positive change in their lives, but need a supportive community and opportunity to make it happen. They need something more than another gym. They need a place to belong.

Her mission is to advocate for those without a voice

Through the support of Thrive Mighty, Nell's made healthy, sustainable changes in her life, and she's closer to her goals than she's ever been.  She knows if she continues down the path she's chosen, she'll become the woman she knows she can be, and impact even more people in her community.

Nell's come a long way in the last 5 years - she's a Health Messenger for Special Olympics North America, and a Health and Wellness Ambassador for Special Olympics Minnesota. She's been hired to sit on panels and advise organizations about being more inclusive, and she's flown around the country to share her story. Her mission in life is to advocate for those who are not able to speak for themselves, so they don’t have to experience what she has.

her journey has just begun

Nell believes defining a goal is important, but you also need to take action toward that goal, over, and over, and over again. She knows you don’t climb a mountain in a single leap, and she's disciplined and determined to make it to the top. She will keep taking the steps to success. She's starting to realize her ability.