Ladner's Debbie Cheong received Osteoporosis Canada's Community Partner Award earlier this month.
"It was a big surprise," said Cheong, the provincial co-ordinator for the Osteofit program at B.C. Women's Hospital and Health Centre.
It was gratifying to have her work acknowledged, she added. Cheong received the award from Osteoporosis Canada president and CEO Dr. Famida Jiwa at a public education forum in Victoria.
Cheong, who has been involved with Osteofit since 2000, trains instructors provincially and works on development of the program. She also teaches Osteofit in Delta at the Ladner Leisure Centre and South Delta Recreation Centre as well as a Get Up and Go class at the McKee Seniors' Recreation Centre.
Gerry Copeland, who has been taking Cheong's classes for three years, said she has more energy, more flexibility and is more aware now of the importance of bending, lifting and turning properly.
"She knows her craft so well. She's very enthusiastic. You can tell she loves what she does," Copeland said.
Osteofit has grown over the years, Cheong notes.
"It's meeting a need. It's exciting to see that it's expanded to the reach that it has. The program is quite diversified from what it started out as. That's really exciting because it shows the adaptability of it."
Osteofit is an exercise, education and falls prevention program for people with osteoporosis, low bone density or who are at risk of fractures and falls, the B.C. Women's Hospital and Health Centre website explains.
Osteoporosis is a bone disease that leads to increased bone fragility.
Cheong said her goal is to help keep seniors independent and be able to remain in their own homes.
"We can give them a lot of tools to do that."
For more about the program visit www.osteofit. org. For details about local classes contact a Delta recreation facility.