Community rallies around Wilmington gym owner who suffered stroke
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A Wilmington body builder and personal trainer who has helped others get fit now needs some help from the community after suffering an unexpected medical emergency.
Nick Kentrolis and his wife Wanda own the Crest Fitness Club in the Lumina Commons Shopping Center off Eastwood Road in Wilmington. Nick is a personal trainer and spent years competing as a bodybuilder, winning state and national awards.
“Nick started in the fitness business back in the early 1980s,” Wanda Kentrolis said. “People didn’t believe in him.”
Over nearly two decades of owning the Crest, the couple has made a point to give back to the community. They’ve held events benefiting organizations like the American Heart Association, often joined by lifelong friend and Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo.
“He’s just a great guy, always gives back to his community, he’s always tried to be there for a lot of different people,” Saffo said.
Now the Kentrolises are turning to that same community asking for help after Nick was rushed to the hospital for a medical emergency.
“He’s suffered a stroke due to a bacterial infection that he’s been fighting for over a month now,” Wanda said. “It’s finally been traced and he’s on the right antibiotics, but it’s caused a brain aneurism.”
The couple does not have health insurance and is likely to face a mountain of medical bills as Nick is scheduled for open heart surgery to repair damage caused by the infection. This comes after a year of financial hardship due to COVID-19.
“They’ve struggled just like a lot of small businesses,” Mayor Saffo. “So whatever we can do to help our small business owners we want to.”
Wanda has started a GoFundMe to raise money for Nick’s medical expenses.
“I’m a private person and I don’t ask for help, but this is beyond me and I need help,” she said.
She says the outpouring of love and support from her Crest family and the community has been amazing.
“I know that he would be so thankful and overjoyed that people are coming together for him,” she said.