Diane Lisehora Milam
Charlie Marten Memorial Award
Photo: Diane (left recipient), her family, friend and Pickleball partner, Pearl (right recipient)
It was Diane’s 45th birthday when her Mom told her that she needed to get in shape and start practicing because she only had five years before she would be eligible to compete in Delaware Senior Olympics. She first enrolled in her Mom’s senior volleyball class and her journey had begun. When she turned fifty she gathered some of her high school teammates and they formed a softball team. In 2012 she picked up pickleball. She continued to play all three sports but her knees began to complain and soon it was too painful to play! She stopped playing softball and volleyball but continued to play pickleball because it was less painful and started cycling to keep up her leg strength. Her knees got worse until surgery was needed.
She found a surgeon who was willing to do both knees in the same operation. Before the surgery she completed a 330 mile bicycle trail ride beginning in Pittsburgh and ending in Washington D.C. which helped keep her legs strong to make the surgery easier. She underwent bilateral knee replacement surgery on October 17, 2016. After two days in the hospital where she learned how to get out of bed and walk with a walker she was moved to a rehab center for 6 days where she relearned how to handle the daily activities of life. Physical therapy continued 3 times a week, two hours each session for 6 to 7 weeks. By Thanksgiving she was back playing pickleball for dinking and by Christmas she was beginning to play games again. She continued to improve and by the end of January she won a gold medal in a local tournament. She continued to get stronger and was able to compete in the National Senior Games in Birmingham where she and partner finished sixth out of 37 teams in her age group.
For her determined spirit to overcome personal challenges and return to competition after bilateral knee replacement and to inspire others to do the same Delaware Senior Olympics honors Diane Liseshora Milam with its Charlie Marten Memorial Award.