WEBSTER, NY (WROC-TV) Multiple Sclerosis is a disabling disease that can eventually cause severe communication problems between the brain and the rest of the body.

But MS isn’t slowing down Jonathan Thomas, even in advanced years.  Thomas has been dealing with Multiple Sclerosis since age 25. He’s 73 now and confined much of the time to a wheelchair. 

“It affects different people in different ways. For me it affected the eyes first, and then the legs,” says Thomas adding, “If you don’t use it, you’re going to lose it.”

The machines at Planet Fitness allow Thomas to get a full body workout. And he’s there, just about every day. General manager Nate Torres says the environment here allows gym users, even with issues like Thomas, to use and keep moving.

“We have a lot of equipment and it’s very user friendly,” says Torres.

“It keeps his legs moving, otherwise he’d just be sitting around,” says Thomas’ wife, Barbara, who helps him with his workout.

“It’s what I married him for. In sickness and in health,” says Barbara.

Helping Thomas can be a workout in itself. “I’m dead weight. I’m like a drunk,” says Thomas laughing.

Mike Meleca also assists Thomas with his workout, which can be a workout in itself.  Meleca lifts Thomas off his wheelchair onto equipment.

“I see John as a very dedicated, very resilient individual,” says Meleca.

Meleca says like most, he wants to stay in bed in the morning rather than get to the gym, but…

“If John can get here, I sure as heck can get here. So there’s no excuses.”

The “no excuses inspiration” as Meleca calls him. Thomas continues to fight MS through exercise. 


“If it (MS) takes me, it’s going to know it’s been one hell of a fight. Because I’m not about to give up. It is what it is with me and I’m at total peace with that. I just leave it in the hands of the Lord. Whatever happens, happens,” says Thomas.