“Just do what you can, buddy ... ”
Laramie Hargrave does push-ups while Paul Boisvert encourages him and keeps count.
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“That’s good. That’s good,” the trainer says, thinking his pupil might ease up.
Hargrave, 31, keeps going.
“Showoff,” Boisvert jokes.
Hargrave was born with cerebral palsy, but that doesn’t slow him down.
Whether he’s motoring along the Green Bridge in his electric wheelchair for thrice-weekly workouts at Electra Health Club & Spa, buzzing to work at Foresight 2020, a Web site marketing firm, or cruising to the beach from home in East Bradenton.
“I go wherever there’s a sidewalk,” Hargrave says.
A fitting metaphor.
“Laramie pushes through whatever he can,” says trainer Jenny Densmore, who also works with Hargrave at Electra. “He’s shown me you can get past anything if you work hard enough. He has determination.”
After helping him out of the wheelchair, the trainers focus on improving the range of motion in Hargrave’s legs and hips and strengthening his core, working him out for 45 minutes.
They do it for free, too.
“He got a raw deal, so we’ve got to do something for him,” Boisvert says.
Hargrave wasn’t looking for such favors, but he is appreciative.
“Not only for their help, but their friendship,” he says. “This has given me more confidence and got me to visit more people.”
Born near Santa Fe, N.M., Hargrave lived in Altus, Okla., until moving here a year ago after a family reunion in Bradenton.
“I fell in love with the people down here,” he explains. “Plus, I like the warm weather. With cerebral palsy, muscles get stiff in the cold. In warm weather, they just relax so it feels better for me.”
Hargrave has taken advantage of the change in climate.
At least once a month, he motors up to Joyland, about an hour trip.
“I like country music and I try to get there when they have concerts,” Hargrave said. “It would be nice to have more friends to do things with, but you just learn to adapt and do things by yourself.”
Sometimes he gets a lift to Joyland from his uncle. Or from Densmore and her boyfriend.
The trainer said Hargrave was a hit the last time they were at the country dance hall.
He was all duded up in a cowboy hat, nice shirt and blue jeans.
“Laramie was dancing in his chair, doing little turns, and two girls were dancing with him,” Densmore recalls.
“He’s amazing. He’s taught me a lot more, just about life, than I’ve taught him.”
Hargrave has had that effect on his other trainer, too.
“It makes me feel good seeing this guy bust his butt to get in here,” Boisvert says. “Just seeing his progress. Seeing him function better. Seeing his posture improve. He’s able to move his legs more than before. He’s got a strong upper body, too.”
Which prompted the trainer to ask his pupil a question.
How much did he weigh?
“About 120 pounds,” Hargrave says. “And it’s all muscle.”