NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — A Galiano woman wants you to know that when you’re motivated, nothing can stop you from reaching your goals, not even 13 surgeries.

A few years ago, lifting weights was not something 58-year-old Allie Cook did.

“I didn’t have the use of my arm. Before my last surgery two years ago, I was ready for my doctor to amputate my arm,” Cook said.

Cook fell and was injured in 2003 and needed to have 13 surgeries with three elbow replacements on her right elbow. She decided she wasn’t going to let that stop her, so she joined Planet Fitness in Algiers to build up strength in her arm.

“I’ve built all this muscle. It now looks just as well as my left arm, and it was a lot skinnier,” Cook said.

With the help of her trainer, Tommy Moore, and motivation from her workout ladies, Cook started to see a real difference.

“I couldn’t put my hand behind my back. I couldn’t put it behind me. I couldn’t put my eye contacts in. Now I can touch my face. Now I can put my hands behind my head and run the lawnmower. Just simple things,” Cook said.

Her can-do attitude is what impresses her trainer the most.

“My favorite thing about her is probably her want to do more attitude. The drive she has is so inspirational. Working with her is more on the side of maintenance of having her arm strong and keeping it that way,” Moore said.

“I couldn’t do a plank and I cried like a baby. I literally cried because I was depressed, but now I can do a plank,” Cook said.

Cook went on to say, “I am not stopping. I am a gym rat now because can’t is not a word in my vocabulary. You can do it. Believe in yourself.”

“That’s what everybody should try to strive for because if you can do that then you can have a long healthy life,” Moore said.

Cook says she’s very thankful to Planet Fitness for getting her to this point.

“They understood what I wanted and never judged me. I have my ladies here that I do the classes with, and they encourage me, just as much as I encourage them,” Cook said.

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