The Y is more than a gym, it’s a cause. The Y has been helping the people of Pima County reach their fullest potential for over 100 years.

Kristina had been a distance runner for 30 years when she learned that she would never run again. Kristina’s knees, frayed and worn away from severe arthritis, would hardly allow for walking and standing, let alone running. She was devastated. “My world became smaller. Then I joined the Y.”

At the Y, Kristina’s world began to open back up. Over the next three years, while Kristina first “awaited and then rehabilitated from partial knee replacements” she spent her time at the Y “learning to swim, to lift, to cycle.” To her surprise “she actually emerged in better shape than before.” “Y staffers led the way and encouraged me at every step. Barb McFarlin, the aquatics director, set me up with Cheryl who taught me how to swim. Sally Martinez, who oversees all fitness classes and staff, cheered me on in building a strength-training program designed by my physical therapists. Best of all, Bruce Herdrich, my “Cycling Plus” instructor, taught me I could still achieve ambitious new fitness goals. He never gave up. When, prior to my knee replacement surgeries, I literally lost the ability to move the bike pedals, he was there modeling perseverance without pity. [Bruce] has his own chronic back condition to deal with, and he does it bravely.”

Kristina found support and encouragement from the lifelong friendships she established at the Y. During each of her hospitalizations, Kristina had Bruce and her best friend Rosalinda—a friend made at Kristina’s first Y cycling class—by her side. “During each lengthy rehab, they rode with me and celebrated every milestone—from walker to cane to bike again. We have become fitness friends for life—true family. Only for Bruce and Rosalinda will I SPRINT beyond my own perceived abilities! We encourage each other, share highs and lows, and KEEP MOVING FORWARD.”

“If I hadn’t joined the Y, the end of my running career would have been the end of my fitness and of my quality of life. Instead, I’ve been blessed to follow 30 years of distance running with 4 1/2 years of swimming, lifting, and cycling. My body fat percentage, blood pressure, aerobic conditioning, and overall cardiac endurance are the best of my life. Equally important, my wellbeing is enriched with wholly positive friendships that began by sharing sweat at the Y and have now extended far beyond physical fitness. Bruce, Rosalinda, and I share our families and our lives. I would never have met them if not for the Y! The Y has changed my life, and I’m very grateful! I really can’t say enough about it.”

We have an extraordinary opportunity to ensure a brighter future for Pima County–to open up the world for our neighbors like Kristina–but we must take action today, and your support will make it possible. Together, we’ll take on many of the greatest challenges facing our young people, our health and our community. Together we can do so much more. By giving to the annual campaign you ensure that the Y can continue this important work. Give. And do so much more.