A Des Moines airport employee has been struggling with her health for years, but now she’s turning it all around one step at a time.
At a place known for its constant movement, Vento was hardly moving at all.
“I couldn’t cross my legs,” said Vento.
Vento has worked for the Des Moines Airport for 10 years. At one point, she weighed 370 pounds. Her weight seemed like just a nuisance until March of 2013, when her doctor diagnosed her with Type 2 diabetes.
“I’ve had three doctors try and talk me into having the stomach surgery,” said Vento.
Vento refused to rely on surgery to solve her problem. So she started walking.
“I could only do maybe 10 or 15 minutes a day walking, and then I worked up to twice a day. Now I have gone to three times a day,” said Vento.
Three times a day, five days a week she walks around the airport terminal. Her coworkers noticed.
“I kept saying to her, ‘How do you do it? How are you so committed and not eating anything you shouldn’t be eating?’ And she’s just been awesome with it,” said Coleen Roberts.
“A lot of them still don’t know my name,” said Vento. “They just knew I worked here and they just have been so wonderful and so supportive that I couldn’t disappoint them.”
Everyone noticed her circling the baggage claim, even passengers.
“The passengers, when they see me go around multiple times, will stop me and they’ll say ‘Are you exercising and have you lost weight?’” said Vento.
Yes she has. Since March of 2013, she has lost more than 200 pounds Her diabetes is now gone.
Even she can’t believe it.
“It just looks like a different person,” said Vento.
“I just remember as a little girl just struggling with weight, and all of the sudden she just decided to walk. And I’ve been so proud of her ever since. She looks so good after losing all that weight,” said Vento’s cousin Sue Hartman.
Vento calls it her second chance at life, and this time, she isn’t letting anyone slow her down.
“I didn’t want people looking at me. Now, you know, it’s like ‘I’m here!’”