Member of the Month

Member of the Month: Meet Lois

Lois Lepine
Lois Lepine/photo provided by Lemoine Worthington

When Lois Lepine joined TOPS, the year was 1968.

Even in 2023, she remembers it well.

“A lot of my friends were in the group,” Lepine said. “When I started coming to meetings, they’d had the club not quite a year. The meetings were near my house. (My friends) encouraged me to come, and I needed to get out of the house.”

Lepine was a busy, hand-on mom, who was also taking in foster babies at the time, and considering she was in the thick of it, parenting-wise, TOPS meetings were “a good thing,” as she recalls, for her to take in some occasional separation from all her duties in the home.

“But I stuck with it!” Lepine said with a laugh. “My friends did, too. (All these years later), here I am.”

Here she is, is right!

Lepine is a longtime TOPS member in Big Bend, Wisconsin. She adores her chapter.

“The whole group just becomes your friends,” she said. “You associate with them, call them – it’s very encouraging. I just kept hanging in there, and I thought I needed the support over the years.”

Lepine’s chapter is a pretty balanced crew. They want to make sure that all the work of staying afloat doesn’t fall on one person, so the group “appoints” people to help run the programs; sometimes they’ll do exercises, or whatever it takes to lend a hand to Chapter Leader Lemoine Worthington.

It was Worthington, by the way, who recommended Lepine as this latest Member of the Month. He admires Lepine, and what a mainstay she’s been at chapter, year in and year out.

For some time, Lepine’s health became a top concern. She was dealing with Atrial fibrillation, and then had to go to a nursing home and rehabilitation.

“My kids weren’t sure I’d make it,” Lepine said.

But she did.

Lepine now has an around-the-clock caregiver, but she felt incredibly relieved to come home. She’s lived in Big Bend for 60 years. In the warmer months, she has a son who swings by to cut the grass, and her daughter-in-law handles the flower beds. She feels fortunate to have the help.

Being able to access TOPS materials online has been a big advantage, as well.

“TOPS has great information, and it keeps you accountable,” Lepine said. “And if you have a gain, (fellow members) don’t put you down – they just encourage you to do better next week, or help you consider what your problem might be.”

TOPS has gotten Lepine into some healthy routines that she just can’t seem to shake, as well. (And we’re so glad!)

“I’ve been in the habit for years of writing a report at my desk,” she said. “I put my activities that I think I’m going to do for the day … that makes me accountable to look back at. This way, every time I took something to eat, I had to put it on the paper.”

Lepine said she’s been “on the heavier side” for her whole life, and although she’s not at her goal weight, she’s always working on becoming a healthier version of herself.

“Everyone works together,” Lepine said. “No one puts anyone down. Everyone is so helpful. Caring for one another – that’s what this is. And it’s week after week, not just when you feel like it.”

Lepine would know a thing or two about that.

Fun fact: She’s cared for an incredible number of foster children: 155 of them, in fact, over the course of 35 years.

Tagged , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *