The Y is more than a gym… it’s a cause. For 100 years, the YMCA of Southern Arizona has been helping the people of Pima County overcome obstacles and unleash their fullest potential. For Derrick, the Y has saved him from the damaging physical effects of a neurological disease. The Y gave him hope, where there previously was none.
Derrick was diagnosed with cerebellum deterioration—a progressive disease that affects his ability to control his muscles and maintains his balance. His primary care doctor, as well as various specialists across the country, predicted that Derrick would be wheel-chair bound by the year’s end. Then Derrick found himself at the Y. At the Y, Derrick has regained mobility and strength, as well as a new community of family and friends. There is no more talk of a wheel chair.
At the time of his diagnosis, Derrick’s neurologist sent him to a physical therapist. The insurance company would only pay for six sessions of Derrick’s physical therapy. Knowing that Derrick would be without the physical training and support that he needed, the physical therapist recommended that Derrick meet with a personal trainer at the Y. Derrick went to the Y where he joined a SilverSneaker®’s class and selected a trainer. The trainer gave Derrick exercises to follow as well as the confidence to do them.
Derrick joined the Y at 18% mobility and at a very unhealthy 110 lbs, standing 6’2” tall. He could not move from side to side or back and forth. After working out at the Y every Monday, Wednesday and Friday he can move from side to side and has reached 48% mobility and strength.
“My mobility went from 18-48%, all thanks to the Y.” “I am better now, since I came to the Y.” Derrick is now a healthy 165 pounds and has developed a chest and arm and leg muscles. At one time, Derrick had been afraid of climbing stairs and falling. The Y trainer takes him outside and helps Derrick practice walking up and down stairs. The trainer gave him confidence and wouldn’t let him fall. Now Derrick can climb stairs. He went from climbing no stairs to climbing 20 stairs at his last physical exam.
The Y helped Derrick slow down the effects of his disease. He no longer relies on his cane. More importantly, surrounded by people he trusts, Derrick is no longer afraid to ask for help. At the Y, Derrick found his strength and a new family of friends. “The Y is doing a great job. I’m meeting people. I’m having a great time. It’s just neat. The Y and SilverSneakers® are helping me be healthy. I look forward to going to the Y. I look forward to seeing the people and working out. I love it! I don’t think I’ll ever stop going to the Y. Thank you for being here and for having the Y. You guys are doing wonders for me and my self-esteem!”
We have an extraordinary opportunity to ensure a brighter future for other adults, like Derrick, in Pima County, but we must take action today, and your support will make it possible. When you give to the YMCA of Southern Arizona, your generosity reaches children, families and seniors throughout our community. Your gift will help young people realize their fullest potential, empower people of all ages to lead healthier lives, and strengthen the bonds of community. Every gift matters. Everyone has a role to play. Together we can do so much more.