What is your YMCA story? What brought you here?
First of all I need to start with a tragedy that hit my family. My wonderful husband of 33 years had suddenly passed away of a heart attack in January 2011. It was devastating. I got myself into some counseling to deal with the post-traumatic stress of his death. I joined a yoga class at the Shawnessy YMCA a year later to deal with my stress and anxiety. I didn’t get to do the last yoga class as I had a serious injury which brings me to March of 2012.
I was coming down stairs and missed three or four of them. I realized something was definitely wrong when I tried to get up and fell. At the emergency room they told me that I had completely ruptured my Achilles tendon. They put me in a cast for five weeks, then a walking cast for another six weeks and I needed a cane for another few weeks after that.
In the later stages of my recovery, my physical therapist and chiropractor both suggested that getting in the water would be very beneficial for my recovery. I came into the Shawnessy YMCA and inquired about their aquatics programs and found a gentle aqua fit class in the afternoon that worked very well for me.
I tried it out for a few weeks and found that I loved it. The participants and aqua fitness instructors were so friendly and helpful – I felt right at home. I found my walking was getting stronger and the YMCA classes were helping me deal with the anxiety of losing my husband. After reaping the benefits of the program for a year, I decided to start looking into becoming an instructor because I loved the activity. Being an ex-figure skating instructor, this would be a new beginning for me. I became a certified Aquatic Fitness Instructor in September 2014.
What is your favorite thing about volunteering?
My favorite part about volunteering is that I can inspire people with injuries to become stronger and never give up and to love themselves through all of the rough times in life. Another thing I love about volunteering is that I have been inspired by so many wonderful people I have meet along the way. While sharing my story with them, I was given great gifts of compassion and the best hugs anyone could ever get. I have also formed wonderful friendships that I will cherish forever. They have lifted me up in so many ways, I am blessed to have this in my life.
Why do you volunteer with the YMCA specifically?
I love volunteering at the YMCA because of their high standards, they go above and beyond.