Y Stories:Dorothea Bandy

Y Member Since 2010

My heart was only functioning at 25%. The objective for recovery was simple: Start at the Y using cardio equipment to increase my heart rate and heart function. At first I could barely go 5 minutes on the treadmill and struggled to complete even a few minutes of a class. Forming a routine to add the Y as part of my daily activities was equally as difficult. However, I really loved all the versatility that the Y offered. Besides equipment, there are lots of classes from dance to water aerobics, all of which get my heart rate up. And the people, I come for the people. Everyone is so nice and genuine. I come to see them.

In only one year of exercising at the Y, my heart function increased by 50%. I was taken off three of my medications and the part of the pacemaker that slows my heart was disconnected! I can now complete 45-60 minutes on the treadmill with no problem. My heart function is better than before my heart attack. The doctor is so happy; he just hugs me all the time. I used to feel like my body always wanted to go, but I could feel my heart holding me back. It was as if my body was running at one thousand, but my heart was only at five hundred. Now my heart is at one thousand and my body can do whatever it wants. That’s because of the YMCA.

I really experience a special connection with the participants and the instructors at the Y. The instructors hold me accountable and genuinely care about my wellbeing. It’s this connection that pushes me to keep attending. Finally, I wanted to share a time that I remember reaching a personal accomplishment. In Dance Fit class we dance to a song called “Happy” (“Happy” is a faster and longer song by Pharrell). When we started doing it, I hated it and I couldn’t do it. I could never make it through. The first time I completed it, I actually cried. I had tears in my eyes as we did it. And now I can take more difficult classes such as Dance it Off. I’m there and I can do it.