Story and photos by Laila Soleimani
Joannah Whitney is an avid rower. She’s a regular participant in our Universal Access Program as she has been rowing on the Connecticut River for the last three seasons with Holyoke Rows. Formerly an archaeologist before a diagnosis of MS, she’s someone who loves being out in the natural world, particularly on the open water. During the regular rowing season, from May-October, Joannah is on the water every week, without question.
I first met Joannah this past August. Looking very comfortable and relaxed on the water, she smiled from ear to ear, when I asked her to pose for a photo. She has that same jovial smile when I ask her to tell me what she loves about the rowing program. “Over the course of the season I get to see the trees change, I get to see the water level rising and lowering. I love seeing eagles, herons, cormorants, or other animals on the banks, or in the water. I love the feeling of putting my oars in the water, pulling against it for part of the stroke, then feeling the scull glide as I reach forward to start the next stroke.”