Bob Thomas


TITLE/OCCUPATION: Dad, Grandpa, Great Grandpa, Retired Masonry Contractor, Former President of the Masonry Institute of America, Member of the 17th Airborne Division in WWII.

Reason for Attending C.O.R.E.
To diminish the unfavorable degenerative changes associated with aging and to get back to living an active unrestricted life.


HOBBIES/INTERESTS: Bob is a golf enthusiast. He enjoys watching, playing, strategizing and discussing any subject involving golf. He also loves to bake and make apple butter which is a tradition that runs deep in the family. He has won many ribbons at the L.A. County Fair for his White Bread, Wheat Bread and Apple Butter.

Bob has also been in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) since 1966.  He attends meetings twice a week. He also stopped smoking a year later.  He has said many times, “I am so glad I stopped when I did”.

 At 64, never having been a runner, Bob decided he wanted to run a marathon so he joined LA Road Runners and ran a half marathon.  At 65, he ran the full marathon.  He would have continued running but a knee injury put an end to that.

Bob loves the beauty of nature.  He and his second wife had a beautiful garden and many people came to enjoy and paint in their garden. He often comments on the beauty he sees as we travel in the car. He is very observant of his surroundings.

One of his sayings is, “Life is what you make it”.   He has a positive attitude.  He enjoys interacting with people and often sits on his front porch and enjoys the flowers and people that come by.        


Bob is able to be mobile and enjoy his life.  They work with him to give him the skills he needs to keep active and the interaction with all the team members adds to his love of life.  They truly care for him and it shows as soon as he walks in the door and  hears, “Hi Bob, how are you?”, and continues as they work and encourage him to be the best he can be.

Sam Audenino

TITLE/OCCUPATION: Sophomore at Newbury Park High School

INJURY/CONDITION: T8 Paraplegic, Incomplete

HOBBIES/INTERESTS: downhill mountain biking, hanging out with my friends, video gaming




C.O.R.E has changed my life forever. During the first few months of my injury, I was barely able to sit up on my own. Now I can do much more than that. The trainers at C.O.R.E have helped me to improve my overall well-being. I have learned to walk with leg braces and I’m getting better at it everyday. I hope that with the help of C.O.R.E, I will be able to overcome spinal cord injury!


Marilyn Dennis

Marilyn Dennis is our first featured Client of 2018! We are very proud to recognize and highlight her hard work and commitment to her road of recovery. Marilyn has gained confidence in her ability to not only climb stairs, but compete in marathons! Rise Above.
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Retired special education teacher - "I was a Resource Specialist Teacher at Edison Elementary School in Burbank, Ca. for 30 years."

"I had a stroke November 6, 2015. It affected the right side of my body. I had to learn to walk and speak clearly all over again. I had physical, occupational and speech therapy. Physical therapy lasted the longest, over 1 year. In October 2016 I joined the USC 5k program that meets every Thursday at the Rose Bowl. There the emphasis is on walking. It has helped me tremendously and last March I competed in the 5k marathon at Dodger Stadium and completed it! I'm going to participate again this year.

I joined C.O.R.E. last September - C.O.R.E. has helped me strengthen myself a lot! I meet with my Restorative Exercise Specialist, Natalie Corbet, one hour a week and spend another hour or two on my independent program. I am working on walking and balance as well as strength. So far my ability to go up and down stairs with no hand rail has greatly improved."

Michael Maze

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TITLE/OCCUPATION: Landscape take off estimator

INJURY/CONDITION: T3 parapalegic

HOBBIES/INTERESTS: Racing Motocross, riding dirt bikes. Trucks, 4x4 driving. I️ really like going to the dunes, or the desert. Lastly can’t forget lake days!

HOW HAS C.O.R.E. CHANGED YOUR LIFE? Core has helped me in many ways! I️ have learned to to work out in many ways that I️ did not even know was possible! I️ have gained all types of knowledge about my injury, also my health. I️ have gained inspiration from other recovering patients, and of course motivation from all the trainers!


Liubov Petrushkina

Liubov Petrushkina is our featured Client of the Month! We proudly acknowledge her hard work, commitment and consistency as an independent client on her road of recovery from a stroke. She and her daughter are a beautiful team that work together while at C.O.R.E. - #TOGETHERWERISE

TITLE / OCCUPATION: Liubov had been a nurse in Russia for 30 years, she worked in Physiatrics (laser therapy, electro stimulation etc.)

INJURY / CONDITION: She had hemorrhagic stroke in 2016. She is now paralyzed on the left side.
HOBBIES / INTERESTS: Most of all she loves spending time with her granddaughter Taissiya, she also likes gardening, cooking and traveling.

C.O.R.E. is a huge support to people like my mom because she can see that she is not alone, and she is not a burden, and no less important than healthy people. We have great hopes that with your help my mom will learn how to stand on her two feet, and walk with confidence. Thank you so much for everything you are doing!


Steve Pell

TITLE: Attorney at law / Real estate Broker
INJURY / CONDITION: Cervical Spinal Cord Injury
HOBBIES: Tae Kwon Do, Soccer, Marathons, Running, Music, Law, Teaching, Chess & Boxing
HOW HAS C.O.R.E CHANGED YOUR LIFE?  C.O.R.E. has helped make my journey a little easier - I can now stand, walk and pedal Aaron Baker's old Honey Badger bike!

Joe Nernberg

is our end of the year Featured Client! In every way, Joe embodies dedication. He willingly and consistently works hard for his health, wealth and happiness. We salute your tenacity Mr. Nernberg!

TITLE: Certified building inspector, general contractor, electrical contractor, HVAC contractor and plumbing contractor

INJURY/CONDITION: T-11, paraplegia

HOBBIES/INTERESTS/PASSIONS: Watching my kids grow up, reading, spooning with Tina

My daily dose of optimism. Improvement is mental as well. There is an aura of compassion at C.O.R.E. and seeing other clients regain there strength is enormously encouraging.

Michael Portzen


-Photography, I enjoy taking outdoor photographs of landscapes, wilderness, and trees.
-I also collect black and white photos of football players, these photos consists of famous football players shot in an extreme play. My favorite back and white photo is when Bart Starr made a touchdown in the ice bowl in the year 1967.
-A passion of mine has always been guitar playing- was in several bands over the course of time. I started playing when he I was ajunior high school all the way through college. Type of music I played was the blues and classic rock!!

-Favorite team is the Green bay Packers. I wear a Green bay Packers shirt every day to CORE.  I have been a fan for my entire life. My favorite player Paul Hornung.

-Interested in Airplanes so that lead me to my first job as a photographer. My first job was a flight test photographer at Lockheed. I have been in the back of planes while sooting photos.

-I love dogs and Ive had them my entire life.

-I prefer to watch older movies in black and white. My favorite black and white movie is Citizen Kane, made in the year 1939.

HOW HAS/DOES C.O.R.E. AFFECT YOUR LIFE? -It has given me hope that I will make progress to recover. I have become more positive throughout the process. I keep consistently coming to sessions, even when I do not feel like coming. I have seen improvements and that is what keeps me going. Core will also help me with my long term goal with achieving the ability to play the guitar again.!!

Judy Morris

I experienced a stroke on July 7th 2013

Until my stroke my husband and I had a very busy life. We enjoyed going to the theater, the Hollywood Bowl, dining out, and world widetraveling. I also loved to cook and spend lots of quality time with my four grandchildren.

I hadbeen going to all kinds of therapies and had home health care services. Unfortunately my progress had been very slow. Luckily A friend told us about C.O.R.E. and I signed up. I am so glad I did!

C.O.R.E. has helped and encouraged me to achieve goals that I never thought I would be able to do. I am moving so much better, and I'm even starting to do a little cooking.

Thank you people of C.O.R.E.

Rachel Weissberger

What initially brought you to CORE?

I was trying to exercise at home without guidelines or supervision, I found myself spending more time treating my injuries than exercising.

Knowing how important exercise is for one's health and with theinsistence of my daughter, I decided to find a gym and a trainer. I discovered CORE in one of my visits to the pharmacy next door, and after talking to Laquita I decided it's a match.


What injuries/conditions do you have?

Mainly, my mother had a very advance Osteoporosis and I was beginning to show signs of it in my medical tests. I also suffer from low energy where I get tired easily (low endurance) . My injuries after exercising on my own were mainly in my lower back and my hips, sometime my neck.

What are your interests / hobbies / passions?

My hobbies includes:

a. Reading, I love to read novels, suspense/mystery, historical novels.

b. Painting, (My passion) I have been creating many oil paintings and displayed them in art shows locally and in other states. My website:


How has CORE affected your life?

It's been a year and 2 month since I first started exercising at CORE. I must say my life has taken a positive path: I feel stronger and I am getting stronger, I have more energy my balance and coordination improved.


I love my trainer and the staff at CORE, it is a special treat to be there and exercise there under the supervision of the expert trainers. 

Visit Rachel's website:

Kenny Potts

INJURY: C4,5,6, C5 burst fracture. C4,5,6 fused together with a plate.

HOBBIES: Outdoor activities, snow skiing, camping, goofing around with my RC car

INTERESTS: Motocross, UFC, rebuilding my truck

PASSIONS: I am very passionate about regaining my physical body. I train 6-7 days a week. Regaining my independence is very important.

HOW HAS/DOES CORE AFFECT YOUR LIFE? I've been training at CORE since December 2014, and boy has my strength and endurance changed in 7 months. CORE has given me the opportunities to experience Red Bull Wings for Life World Run. ...Braunability's Indy Car Race Day, Snow skiing with fellow CORE attendees. The staff is keeping me focused on achieving my goals and giving me the positive support I need to move forward. Thank you CORE for giving me this opportunity...

FOLLOW Kenny @

Instagram: k_potts86

acebook: Finish Strong Kenny Potts

Sarah Pettersen

TITLE: Student, Moorpark College



HOW HAS/DOES C.O.R.E. AFFECT YOUR LIFE?  C.O.R.E has affected my life in a huge way. Everyone from C.O.R.E is so supportive. They encourage me to get up everyday and try harder. They have helped me so much throughout my recovery physically and even emotionally. C.O.R.E has changed my life!



Instagram: @sarahhpettersen 

Gino Alfonso - Macauley

TITLE: Student / Athlete 

INJURY/CONDITION: Cervical Disk Herniations, Degenerative Disk Disease 

HOBBIES/INTERESTS/PASSIONS: I am an mechanical engineering student at california state university: northridge. I race go karts at a national/international level and hope to continue climbing the ladder to get into full sized cars. 


I was recently in a bad karting accident during a race at the Modesto Grand Prix. I tapped a barrier, flipped, and was ejected from the go kart. This ended up causing herniations in my cervical spine and was told by doctors that I need to stop racing. I told them that's not possible I have too much passion to stop pursuing my dream. C.O.R.E. is helping me realign my posture, strengthen my neck and helping me be more aware of my body mechanics both in the race car and in regular everyday life. With everyone's help at C.O.R.E. I'm training to be ready for the race season opener of the premier SKUSA Prokart Challenge.

FOLLOW ME ON: Facebook

Pat Hrupcho

Injury/Condition: Severe congenital spinal stenosis with nerve damage

Hobbies/Interests/Passions: Family, Baseball (obsessed with the NY Mets), Cooking, Baking, Canning, and now working out at C.O.R.E..

How has/does C.O.R.E. affect your life: How do I begin to explain about the people & place that I truly believe has saved my life and given me the quality of living that everyone deserves. I started C.O.R.E. on my birthday (literally) 2 years ago and have not looked back. The inspiration, support from everyone that is there, in such a unique environment is AMAZING. Before C.O.R.E. I was in such discomfort (due to my back) that everything was a chore and painful. I had one back surgery done, then Taylor showed me that diligence and dedication is the real solution to life. With my weight loss and almost daily workouts he has changed my life and I look forward to everyday. Laquita is always so welcoming and encouraging. Britney Doug, Christy, and Robert are there for me whenever I have questions, to step up my workout, or need encouragement. C.O.R.E. is a 2nd family that wants the best for you at all times. 

It's too bad that the uniqueness and specialness of C.O.R.E. can't be bottled and given to everyone in need. There sure are a lot of people in need of such gifted people. 

Barbara Llanes

TITLE: Retired Mom with an AMAZING daughter named Tara

INJURY/CONDITION: About 8 years ago I had a knee replacement and didn't receive proper physical therapy initially, which caused me to walk with a bent knee.  Being busy with others things I didn't even realize how gradually it was causing my posture and bodily alignment to get completely off.  Walking with a bent knee caused me to bend at the hips when I walked and over time, this not only aggravated my knees and hips but also my back.  I reached a point a few years ago where I couldn't stand or walk for more that 15 minutes without having quite a bit of back pain. This led to deterioration and arthritis in my hips causing me to have both hips replaced. So yes, now I'm bionic and set of all the alarms at LAX!!!

Aaron and his family came into our lives and then opened C.O.R.E. and we knew what an amazing place it was, but it was so far away, I never really considered it, plus I also thought it was for spinal cord injury.  While joining my daughter there for her sessions, I realized there were other people there without spinal cord injury that were also being helped.  With some sweet persuasion from my daughter, next thing I knew I was at C.O.R.E. for an evaluation with Taylor and going to C.O.R.E. three times a week.


INTERESTS/HOBBIES:  I've always enjoyed the outdoors and sports ever since I was little and got to have a second childhood when I  coached my daughter and her friends in some of the sport I had enjoyed myself.

I really enjoy  bicycling of any type.  I did the Aids ride from San Francisco to LA twice and enjoy mountain biking.  I also enjoy camping and traveling.


HOW HAS C.O.R.E. IMPACTED YOUR LIFE? After driving from Orange County to C.O.R.E. three times a week for a year I realize it was well worth the time and effort.  The people are amazing there!!  Taylor and his "Taylor-isms" always got me through the day!! I worked with Doug most of the time and we bonded and will always have a special friendship.  Everyone there makes it fun to go and they all feel like a family.  My left knee is VERY close to straight, I stand straight now and have gotten so much stronger on both sides and feel more evened out.  I am walking 30 min. 2-3 times a week without any pain and actually enjoy it since I'm walking pretty normal.  


Now that I have "graduated" from C.O.R.E. I still have my programs to do Mon.-Wed.-Fri.  I just don't have to be on the road 3-5 hours to do it.  WooHoo!!  But I do miss seeing everyone and it's only been a week!  Before C.O.R.E. I felt 20 years older than my age, now I feel 20 years younger than my age - so I think that means I've gain 40 years back!!!  Not bad, heh!  ( Had to get a little Canadian in there for my Canadian Daughter in Law!!) 


Love you all at C.O.R.E.

Alan Wilken

Title:  Attorney, Retired

Injury:  C-4,5 tetraplegia with central cord syndrome; 10th & 12th cranial nerve damage -- all from having too much fun on my bicycle in July 2012.

Interests, etc.:  Maximizing my recovery; keeping my wife happy; reading/listening to newspapers, magazines and books. 

C.O.R.E.'s Impact:  The limitations from my injury are as much psychological as physical.  C.O.R.E.'s individualized training program lifts me from my wheelchair, and the commitment and enthusiasm of C.O.R.E's personnel and clients lift my spirit.  More than a place for exercise, there is a genuine and unique "esprit de C.O.R.E."

Kimberly Totolo

Title:  Special Events Coordinator - Nonprofits

Condition/Injury: Achondroplasia, Spinal Stenosis/SCI 1992

Hobbies/Interests/Passions: Music, Movies, Photography, Art, Road trips, Observing & Learning, Socializing & Laughing .. all to the best of my ability & beyond. 

How Has/Does CORE Affect Your Life?  C.O.R.E has not only been my center for restoring my fitness regime but restoring my faith in when one door closes another one opens, literally - 

On Jan. 4, 2013 when I rolled into C.O.R.E.  my faith that I can become the best of my ability was reenergized.  KEY ;  When you have the proper exercise program designed for you, exercise equipment accessible to you , that stress is gone & it allows you to give more time to concentrate & work on your physical & mental being which then allows you to better enjoy the other aspects of your everyday life.  


Plus, the supportive system of everyone (CORE Crew & Clients) is invaluable & there is never a day I  leave feeling uninspired.

Ronny Weinreich

TITLE: Musician


HOBBIES/INTERESTS/PASSIONS: Music / Business / Philosophy

HOW HAS/DOES C.O.R.E. AFFECT YOUR LIFE?  While seeking for a solid solution for my exercise regiment in California, I was blessed enough to hear about a place called CORE which would quickly become the new "HomeBase" for my ongoing rehabilitation and physical improvement. “Home” because the management and staff are like a second family who seek solely for my best interest and provide unconditional positivity at all times. “Base” because the knowhow, discipline, and loyalty that they bring to the game is unparalleled, like an elite special-ops team in their field. In our lives there are experts and institutions who preach the impotent realities of probability; and then there are the unrelenting and brave creators who revel in the fields of beautiful and endless possibility. Choose. CORE.

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Christopher Voelker

C.O.R.E. client Christopher Voelker  is also a resident of Otherness; a place we know as familiar but extraordinary, comprehensible but unimaginable as well.  The same may be said of any true artist, but Christopher is a wheelchair user and a true artist both.

From the age of 17, as the result of a high-speed motocross accident, Voelker has been living with a disability, but not directed by it.  During his long, life-altering rehabilitation from that spinal injury, Chris discovered his love of photography.  It became his life's passion, the medium of his art; while the rich and strange otherness of B&W photography became his special obsession. With a special Ode’ to heroes Avedon, Penn, Brandt, Cartier Bresson, Hurrell.

Once described as "Hurrell on acid"Chris' images capture vestiges of a midnight world.  Unconscious memory and inexplicable emotion are captured in the light of day. And we viewers become as dreamers awake.

Voelker has shifted his focus temporarily, being an ambassador with The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. Voelker has found it an honor and great responsibility taken with great pride. "The making portraits for the newly released Paralysis Resource Guide was a dream assignment. Photographing those who possess such talent, drive, and happen to be disabled, makes for a palate of ongoing creativity to convey such diversity and uniqueness was an honor that lasted for a year of portraits. My ultimate desire is to capture a person living with a disability as a creative work of art while removing the stigma of illogical stereotyping," said Voelker. "I am proud to work with the Reeve Foundation to help spread awareness of its mission to help individuals living with spinal cord injuries, and hope it opens the doors for people living with paralysis to jump into their dreams of delving into the arts."In a strange way I feel I am photographing myself in this unique ballet of image making.

The Paralysis Resource Guide is free to anyone requesting one by calling toll free at: 1-800-539-7309 . The PRG is also available in the Kindle edition and can be downloaded  at for free as well.

As a commercial photographer Highly regarded as a working professional in the entertainment community, and working with top record labels, networks and studios, Chris has shot the likes of  Rhianna, Beyonce, Mick Fleetwood, Lauryn Hill,  Billy Zane,David Lynch, Ringo Star, Carmen Electra, Christina Applegate, Beyonce, Bow Wow, and Brandy... to name a few. This is Voelker’s “day Job” if you will. Working in the entertainment community if fun, wacky, and a living in the studio.

Voelker makes his home above his state of the art studio with his Wife & muse  Melanie and his two hairless kitties Smeagol & Zizzles

To see an extensive portfolio of Voelker’s work visit his site at

Amanda Timm

TITLE: Student/Skier/Traveler

INJURY/CONDITION: Spinal Cord Injury, T- 5/6

HOBBIES/INTERESTS/PASSIONS: Skiing, Surfing, Skating, Traveling, Food, Health/Fitness, Art and Music.

It makes me feel like a beautiful butterfly that has spread its wings and taken flight for the first time

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