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Life Grapples Age
Submitted by: Cedar Valley Hospice

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Life Grapples Age

Cedar Valley Hospice patient Martin Lundvall meets University of Northern Iowa wrestlers after their matches in February. The 1950 University of Northern Iowa Athletic Hall of Fame wrestler joined our hospice program four months earlier with ailing health and never thought he’d be able to do something as rich as revisiting his roots. That is, until two months later, he became our guest of honor at our annual Nights event, where he received a special video message from Olympic gold medalist grappler Dan Gable. As Gable’s junior high teacher and coach, Lundvall made an enormous impact on Gable’s life - so much so that he’s mentioned in Dan’s new book, A Wrestling Life: Inspiring Stories of Dan Gable. Last month, Dan was able to reconnect with his mentor, Martin, in a special visit at his home – a meeting that was nurtured through Martin’s connection with Cedar Valley Hospice.

“Martin gave me the opportunity to become a good student. I was already on track to be a good wrestler, but grades were not my good avenue,” said Gable in his special video message. “I sat down in his classroom and actually paid attention, was able to take a test and get a score back that was maybe my first decent score in academics...since kindergarten. Without grades, you don’t really go to a Division 1 school. He told me, ‘Gable, I think you could be a really good wrestler. You’ve got a special trait there.’ When you listen to somebody and go from a pretty good junior high wrestler to the Olympic finals and then win the Olympic finals because of words from people that set you straight - like Martin Lundvall - you know you’ve found a good man.”

Nine months after coming on our program, Martin is still living the Cedar Valley Hospice motto, “Making Each Moment Matter.”

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