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Without the Y, I Wouldn’t Be Where I am Today

Sandra Merritt suffered a back injury after a fall in early 2013 left her in severe pain. Eventually, she had to go on disability. After several doctor visits and a surgery, Sandra went to rehab at the West Cabarrus YMCA. She instantly felt results and the pain began to go away. When her rehab was complete, Sandra decided to join the Y, yet knew that paying for her membership would be a challenge. Nonetheless, she applied for and received a scholarship and immediately began water aerobics.

sandra merritt web

While Sandra’s first few months were very difficult, she knew that routinely attending water aerobics would improve her health. Despite two knee surgeries and another back surgery, Sandra persevered. She continues to participate in classes at the Kannapolis and West Cabarrus YMCA’s to help meet her needs. She typically does 2-3 classes per day, 4-5 days per week. “If I don’t use it, I will lose it. And thanks to God, I am able to use it.”

Sandra’s health has improved dramatically. She no longer walks with a cane or walker. “I feel great!” she says with a huge smile. “Without the Y, I wouldn’t be where I am today.” At first, the only cardio she could do was the recumbent bike. Now, she walks on the elliptical for 40 minutes most days.

Although she feels stronger, she admits that she hasn’t lost as much weight as she had hoped and recently committed to eating better. She met with the Registered Dietician Leslie to help plan her meals to lose weight and manage her diabetes, stating, “People don’t realize the resources that are available at the Y.”

Sandra loves to exercise and is often seen at Y social events such as Lunch and Learns. “I love learning new ways to improve my life through the interesting classes, and I love meeting people of all ages and cultures. My life has expanded since I came to the Y. One friend has even encouraged me to go into the deep end of the pool for the first time in my life.”

The support of her YMCA family has allowed Sandra to continue and strengthen her commitment to a healthy lifestyle, while spending time with her daughter and three grandchildren. “I feel a lot better about myself and thank God I am healthy enough to enjoy my family.”

We know there are many individuals in our community, like Sandra, who don’t know where to start in their wellness journey. Donors like you make it possible for the Y to open our doors to all and to provide the programs and services that make our community happier, healthier and more connected. Your gift helps build a better us!

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