Whether it’s a night out wining and dining in a fancy restaurant or cuddled up eating chocolates and watching a movie, for many, Valentine’s Day is for enjoying all the trappings of love. But for “Susan,” Valentine’s Day 2009 was spent in a much different setting: the hospital room where her husband was recovering from congestive heart failure.
 
Although not the ideal Valentine’s Day, Susan was optimistic nonetheless. Her husband was expected to be released in just a few short days, once the doctors balanced his medicine correctly. And just before she left, conceding to his request for her to get some sleep in a real bed, they made a pact, “He said to me, ‘When I get home, we’re going to get in better shape or I will be gone and you will be in here,’” she remembered. But at 3:30 a.m., Susan received the call no one wants to hear; her husband had passed.
 
“It took me about six months to realize that half of his prediction had already come true and I was not ready for the second half to happen,” Susan said. Determined to uphold her promise to her husband, Susan joined the United Way-supported Barbara B. Jordan YMCA.
 
She started out with a water aerobics class, but the more comfortable she got the more adventurous her workouts became, from calisthenics and yoga classes to trying weight lifting and cardio machines. “One time a man next to me commented sarcastically, ‘Are we having fun yet?’ and I realized that I actually was!” Susan said.
 
And the Y’s impact didn’t end at helping Susan get in shape. “It didn’t take long before I was making tons of friends,” Susan said. “My social life expanded to brunch, matiness and dinners with my new friends. I even joined a few of them on my first cruise.”
 
Susan had turned to the Barbara B. Jordan YMCA in a time of need, looking to get in better shape, but what she got was so much more. “For seven years now, the Y has been part of my life, and it’s helped me socially and mentally just as much as physically,” she said. “I always tell people the smartest thing I ever did was join the Y.”
 


Note: United Way fights for the education, financial stability, health and basic needs of everyone in our community. Barbara B. Jordan YMCA is a United Way-supported agency addressing one or more of these priorities by building a healthy spirit, mind and body for all.