Diane was diagnosed with Glaucoma in 2001 and today her vision is mostly shadows and light. Diane’s husband Michael, who is also visually impaired, came to the Park Cities Y looking for a place to swim and workout. After finding a warm and caring environment at the Park Cities YMCA, Michael then decided to bring Diane. She came to the YMCA on a regular basis and became quite good at mastering her own workouts. Then Diane met Dinah, a recreational therapist at the Dallas Y. Diane shared with Dinah the time she spent at the Criss Cole Center for the Visually Impaired in Austin and the nice little running trail she enjoyed while there. Diane spoke of the solitude, the confidence, and the “freeing” of spirit when she ran. Dinah encouraged Diane to take up running again, with Dinah as the guide. With her help, Diane began to wake up in the morning and remember what it was like to breathe, to enjoy, to live – to run again. Bound together by an elastic tube, each one with a handle staying within a foot of each other, down the Katy Trail they went.
In November, Diane completed her first 5k! She completed her first race ever with tears in her eyes as she crossed the finish line. Diane said she could not truly explain what it’s like crossing the finish line when she feared she would never run again. She had never entrusted herself to another person like that before. Diane and Dinah stood there, overcome with joy, crying and shaking, together. Now, with her first 5k behind her, Diane is confident this is only the beginning.
Diane’s story is just one example of many individuals who found overwhelming support and a welcoming environment at their local YMCA. Whether it’s achieving a personal goal, finding a support group, or learning a new skill, there’s a place at the YMCA for people of all abilities to build a healthy spirit, mind and body.