Jennifer's YMCA Story

Life had been a struggle for years.  After suffering a debilitating injury to her foot, Jennifer underwent a series of physical therapy sessions and procedures that enabled her to "get by", but she was unable to walk normally and needed a cane.  To compound things, this summer her car was hit, further injuring her knee, back and foot. As part of her rehab at Door County Memorial Hospital, her Doctor prescribed three weeks of heated pool therapy at the Door County YMCA. She worked on core exercises and balance, something she had never done before.  Her therapists, Crystal and Laurie, explained that working on her center was something she needed to do not just for the next three weeks, but with her history of injuries, it was therapy she needed long term.  

 Jennifer agreed, she felt better than she had in years.  

Jennifer found when in the pool she has the mobility of a 16 year old and feels no pain.  For 90 minutes she is able to focus on herself and this focus has carried over to other parts of her life.  Her husband noticed she was more alert and her bouts with depression began to decrease, giving her the energy and self-esteem to get up and keep going. She even told her grandson she would like to live in the pool and grow gills as she feels so much better there.

Jennifer’s biggest worry was that she wouldn’t be able to afford to keep coming to the YMCA and would lose the “new life” she had gained during her rehab. She did not want to slip back to her sedentary life with pain. Determined to stick with it, she worried about the cost. 

It was then that Laurie told Jennifer about the financial assistance program available at the Y.

Jennifer couldn’t believe how wonderful the Y staff treated her and went out of their way to help her get off on the right foot.  When she sat down with Sue, our membership director, she was faced with another wonderful surprise.  Sue asked if she would be interested in getting a family membership so her husband and 14 year old grandson could use the Y too.  She did not want to take advantage of her opportunity to come to the Y on a scholarship, but was overwhelmed by the idea that her entire family could come at a price that now was very affordable.

In two months Jennifer has lost 25 pounds just from her 90 minutes in the pool 3 days a week.  She has not changed her diet or anything else in her life and credits her healthier figure to her time at the Y.  With the weight loss and this new understanding of strengthening her core, she is able to function more in society as a “regular person”.  She still uses her cane, but can walk with more stability and is not afraid of falling anymore.  

She has been overwhelmed by how friendly and supportive the staff has been, from the smiling faces at the front desk to the lifeguards in the pool.  Not only are they there to help, but they encourage her every step of the way.

Y membership has been life changing for her grandson too.  To get away from a bad environment, he came to live with his grandparents. Unexpectedly the Y has been a huge part of his “fresh start” and new family situation as well.  He is so excited to come to the Y and Jennifer couldn’t be happier that he is able to be at a safe and active place that he enjoys. They have also started to come as a family in the evenings.  While Jennifer does her exercises, her husband and grandson spend quality time together playing basketball and enjoying the pool.

Jennifer gushes when she speaks of her Y experience. She cannot put this gift into words and feels so fortunate that the Door County YMCA can be a part of her new found life and her family’s life. Membership at the Y has truly been life changing for Jennifer and she is extremely grateful for the financial aid that made this possible.