My name is Julia Gilbank and I have been a member at the Kelowna Family YMCA for over ten years now. Prior to that my exercise routine included walking with a friend in the evenings, but then my back went out.

I went to a therapist who recommended I join a gym and start a supervised fitness program to regain my strength. I signed up for the YMCA Coach Approach Program and the caring staff showed me how to exercise properly, supported my health goals and monitored my progress. After growing stronger, I decided to try yoga.

I now attend the Kelowna Family Y up to eleven times a week and it feels like home to me! The only reason I can frequent the facility as often as I do is because of the subsidized membership the Y has provided me. I am retired and living on a limited income, so I would only be able to afford to drop-in twice a week at most, and forced to choose from the many activities I love. I don’t know where I would be without the Y’s financial assistance program as I cannot afford regular therapy and I don’t want to be dependent on pain medication.

I was recently given a cancer diagnosis. But I am hopeful because by maintaining my health with regular physical activity, I sleep better, eat better and now have a supportive group of friends who I met at the Y. Thank you, thank you, thank you to all the amazing donors for giving me the strength I need heading into this journey. Please don’t stop giving as you are making such a difference in the lives of people like me. And as members, we try to help with fundraisers like the YMCA Walk-a-thon. It’s just one great big supportive family here.