VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – This month, 10 On Your Side continues to recognize Remarkable Women in our community. Our final finalist is on a mission to help people enjoy life on wheels at any age.
Back in the fall, we asked for nominations from you to honor and recognize the Remarkable Women in your lives. Our panel of judges selected four finalists. One winner will go on to our national Remarkable Women celebration, hosted by our parent company, Nexstar Media.
Finalist Diane Haupt is not someone who sits still.
“I’ve cycled across Africa, the U.S.,” Haupt said.
For more than 30 years, she had her own physical therapy practice. When it came time to retire, she knew she had to do something.
“I got to thinking and just thought maybe starting up something where I can get seniors or less mobile people out for bike rides,” Haupt said.
So, she started spinning her wheels.
“I sold my practice, I biked across the United States and raised $30,000 … came home and bought two bicycles,” Haupt said.
With the help of some volunteers, Spinclusion was born.
They work with area nursing homes to provide free rides to seniors and anyone who can’t pedal on their own.
Haupt said the pandemic, and seeing the impact it had on senior citizens, was a big motivator for her.
“You could just hear the stress and the depression in their voice,” she said.
But on the bike, that melts away.
“I used to ride my bike all the time to Wards Corner and back,” said rider Ruth Flowe. “It has been so much fun.”
Said Haupt: “It’s just something about being out on the bike and having that sense of freedom, feeling the wind in their hair that just brings out stories and joy in people, and we can see that.”
Her dedication to Spinclusion is why Rosie Randolph nominated her for our Remarkable Women contest.
“The main thing is just what she’s done with her gifts and talents since retiring herself,” said Randolph, who is a volunteer with Spinclusion. “She does it in such a humble and kind way that it just makes everyone around her want to do stuff. To me, that’s remarkable.”
Haupt said she was surprised by the nomination.
“I was humbled,” Haupt said. “I mean, it was very thoughtful and sweet of her. I don’t consider myself anything special or remarkable about me.”
However, she hopes this story inspires others.
“Awareness, not just for Spinclusion but just for breaking down barriers for, you know, individuals that are out there that don’t think they can still get on a bicycle or get out and enjoy nature,” Haupt said.
She is raising that awareness every day … one pedal at a time.
“What makes my heart happy? Just serving others, bringing joy to others brings joy to myself,” Haupt said.
Haupt is currently in New Zealand, biking to raise money to buy another bike for Spinclusion.
You can learn more about Spinclusion by clicking here.