Bart and Dodi P.

Haselwood Family YMCA

The average adult can walk approximately one mile in 20 minutes. At one point just three years ago, Bart could only make it 20 feet in that timeframe, and he needed the assistance of a walker. Back in 2012, Bart learned he had developed arthritic threads that had wrapped themselves around a large portion of his spinal cord causing extreme pain and the inability to feel his feet. 
 
Compounding the issue was his weight at the time, of which doctors said he would need to lose a significant amount to continue with a planned surgery to remove the spinal growths. He and his wife Dodi worried as failure to remove the growths could have led to permanent immobility. 
 
"After a couple of days of that sinking in, the devastation of not knowing what was coming, it brought me to tears," said Bart.
 
Like many looking for a fresh start, Bart joined the Y in January. His first experience was arduous as he navigated a tour but he says the time and love and care he was given helped put him at ease, and exercising made him feel good. Bart eventually lost more than 100 pounds at the Y, and had a successful surgery. 
 
"I couldn't take an independent step. Period," said Bart. "If it wasn't for the YMCA, I would not be able to walk and that's the real truth of the situation."