Fourteen months ago Dennis was in the third and final stages of an incurable cancer. He endured six months of radiation and chemotherapy to put his cancer briefly in remission. Then, Dennis fell. What would have been a minor spill resulted in an explosive burst fracture of his spine and an eight-hour surgery to repair his shattered body. Cancer had left him broken and alone. Dennis had no access to physical support or emotional support and no community where he could belong. Worst, he struggled to feel self-worth with no ability to contribute to society.
During recovery, his physical therapist suggested he check out the YMCA for help. Dennis took a tour of the Y, and was told about LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA. “I found what was missing in my life thanks to LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA.” With access to excellent facilities and trainers, his balance and strength drastically increased. Dennis was no longer alone – he had a whole class of people who have been through the same tribulations that he has. “LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA proves to all of us that we are not alone, despite everything cancer does to isolate us. Everyone in class empowers each other; we became stronger because we were unified.” About three-quarters of the way through his 12-week LIVESTRONG® at the Y program, he began walking with the aid of just a cane.
“This experience has given me so much, but I’m most thankful that I can now give back to other cancer survivors. They trained me to become a Peer Mentor, so I get to assist others in the LIVESTRONG® program at the YMCA! I am so grateful to each of the trainers and volunteers, and to my LIVESTRONG® classmates. They have given me a whole new life.”
You can watch Dennis’ story in his own words below.