Duo gives free massages to senior citizens in Detroit area

Tom Gardiner, Mike McEvoy provide massages twice a month at St. Patrick's Senior Center

DETROIT - It's a simple thing putting one hand inside another, but we don't do it often enough. Tom Gardiner and Mike McEvoy give free massages to senior citizens twice a month at St. Patrick's Senior Center.

"A lot of seniors don't experience touch from family and friends," said McEvoy. "A lot of them live by themselves."

"One of my first clients was in her 80s, had edema and had her walker. Within a few sessions the edema went down and she was able to walk around much better and she was so grateful," said Gardiner. "She came for 10 years each week that I was there."

It's less a job than a labor of love. Gardiner and McEvoy, both retired, have put in a collective 17 years of volunteering at St. Patrick's. Gardiner was a hospital therapist who learned reflexology at his job. McEvoy is a retried businessman who was looking for something meaningful.

"What you feel is that you get more out of it than you are giving," said Gardiner.

"Do you end up hearing a lot of stories from the seniors because they are so relaxed while you are working on them?" asked Mitch Albom.

"Kind of life stories, histories, where do they come from," said McEvoy. "A lot of them, you know, were raised in Detroit, some are from down south."

It's a simple thing, putting hands inside each other, crossing that invisible barrier that keeps us apart.

"The connection with people is great," said McEvoy. "I am kind of energized by that just trying to keep in touch, you know, literally keep in touch."

"Yeah, literally keep in touch," Albom laughed.

"Right, that is a way to connect with people, I think," said McEvoy.

By lending a helping hand -- four helping hands -- Gardiner and McEvoy keep that human connection with our precious seniors in the heart of Detroit.

Heart of Detroit

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