The Edmond Sun

January 28, 2013

Edmond's YMCA volunteers work toward $121,000 goal

Patty Miller
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — Edmond’s kickoff for the annual YMCA fundraising effort is today and ends March 28.

Each day the Edmond YMCA, as well as the YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City and its 12 metro locations, serves as a gathering place for the community.

According to information released by the Y, nearly 1,500 second-graders learn to swim at the Y each year. More than 120 seniors connect with one another at the YMCA Lincoln Park Senior Center. Most recently, 69 cancer survivors have turned to the Y to reclaim their health and strength after treatment through the LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program.

To ensure that the Y can continue to provide services like these at minimal or no cost, the Y is launching its annual Community Support Campaign. This year, the Edmond YMCA hopes to raise $121,000 of the Y’s $1.12 million total combined goal for the metro area. Funds raised will support membership, child care, youth sports and swimming programs for those who could not otherwise afford to participate in Y programs.



Cancer survivors targeted for LIVESTRONG at the YMCA

There is more to being healthy than just being physically active. At the Y, it’s about maintaining a balanced spirit, mind and body even after cancer.

“Being at the Y is about improving energy levels and self-esteem and developing a personalized physical fitness program so cancer survivors can continue to practice a healthy lifestyle, not only as a part of their recovery, but as a way of life,” Dena Drabek, director of communications for YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City, told The Sun.

Edmond resident Becca DeBee is being featured in the YMCA Community Support Campaign this year and will be at the kickoff today to share her story. DeBee was so inspired by her experience at the Y that she is now in training to become a LIVESTRONG at the YMCA instructor.



Becca’s story is one of triumph

Becca DeBee was diagnosed with Stage 3 melanoma last year, which completely changed her life, she said, as she began fighting cancer.

“Being physically fit is  a very important part of recovering,” DeBee said in a video. “It helps by keeping your spirits up and makes you feel better.”

She said the LIVESTRONG program at the Y has meant everything to her and it has changed her life because it was there she met staff member Ashley Grubb, health and wellness director at the Edmond YMCA.  

“When Ashley found out I was interested in running the half (marathon) she stepped up and said we are going to train together,” DeBee said. “She helped me on Tuesdays and Thursdays working out and running with me and encouraging me.”

When time came to run the half together, DeBee said, “Doing the half together was a bonding experience for us. The day of the race was surreal. I remember thinking a year ago I could not hardly walk to get the mail. It was a challenge.”

DeBee said when she hit the 10-mile mark it was like she hit a wall and she began tearing up.

“Ashley said, ‘You can do this.’ I said, ‘I can’t do this. I am going to die.’ Ashley responded with, ‘You almost already did die. This is not that. You can do this.’”

Ashley’s encouragement helped DeBee and she did do it.

“I crossed the line and we were hugging and crying,” DeBee said. “If it weren’t for the LIVESTRONG program I wouldn’t be where I am at now. I wouldn’t have gotten the support, love and friendship I have gotten. I know I would not have had the courage to try and do a half marathon without the staff helping me.”

The 2013 YMCA Kick Off will be from 6-7:30 p.m. today at the Mitch Park Multipurpose Activity Center, 2733 Marilyn Williams Dr.

As a leading nonprofit for strengthening community, financial gifts to the Y will help advance programming and services that support youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. More importantly, gifts to the Y stay in the community, having a direct impact on residents in the greater Oklahoma City area.

Make a gift to the Edmond Y online at www.ymcaokc.org.