Healthier 901 Stories
A Grandmother’s Inspiration to join Healthier 901
Marjorie Rothschild and daughter Iesha Sumerall

“I want to be here long enough so that my granddaughter remembers me.”

The past few years have been trying for Marjorie Rothschild. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted an entire globe. For Dr. Rothschild, the pervasive virus meant her days of racking up 10,000 steps during her biology lectures at Southwest Tennessee Community College were over.

“I don’t know how to teach in a sitting down position,” said Dr. Rothschild.

Isolated in her Memphis home with her husband of 31 years, Dr. Rothschild couldn’t be nearly as mobile when lecturing through a stationary laptop.

Dr. Rothschild’s pre-pandemic routine of starting her day with a quick Pilates session disappeared when she had to start working remotely.

“I just wasn’t exercising the way I needed to. Some people, during COVID, started exercising more, but I kind of went the other direction,” said Dr. Rothschild. “I just got those extra pounds on there, which I didn’t need anyway.”

Life hurdles continued to persist. Dr. Rothschild took on the additional role of becoming her husband’s caretaker, until he passed away in May 2023.

Through those devastating hardships, there were sunbeams of immense joy and hope for the two professors. During the pandemic, Dr. Rothschild’s daughter welcomed a precious baby girl into the world. Little Olohikihua is a toddler now and the sweet girl is injecting inspiration into her grandma’s heart.

“My wish is that I’m going to be around and I want to be able to take her on trips,” said the proud grandma.

So when Dr. Rothschild heard about the Healthier 901 challenge on the news, it spoke directly to her.

“It sounded just perfect for me because I’m starting a new term and personal things happening with me. It just clicked,” said Dr. Rothschild.

The Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare team is proud to lead Healthier 901 with support from community sponsors Cigna Healthcare, Nike, Kroger and Action News 5. Together, we are challenging the Mid-South to collectively lose a million pounds over the next three years.

Dr. Rothschild is already taking steps to reestablish her exercise routines. Morning Pilates sessions are back, her lectures are in-person, and on her off days she pushes herself to get out of the house and moving.

For motivation, she looks toward her future memories with her granddaughter as well as a little friendly inspiration from her twin sister, Peggy.

“Peggy has lost weight and gotten back into better shape too,” said Dr. Rothschild.

As the professor starts a new semester and turns a new page on her exercise regimen, she has a few words of encouragement for anyone who is hesitating to join the Healthier 901 challenge.

“If you’re worried about not sticking to it. It’s OK… It’s OK if you fall off the wagon for a day. You get back up. Say ‘I messed up today’… If you make a mistake that’s OK. You keep going and it’s that you’ve made the longer term commitment. You just do it day by day and all of a sudden you’ve done a week, you’ve done two weeks.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves, Dr. Rothschild.

To learn more about the Healthier 901 challenge, visit our home page.

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