Stephanie and her family became Y members soon after moving to the Puyallup area in 2004. She was a single mom and this was an affordable opportunity for her family to engage in an active and healthy community, while participating in classes like swimming lessons, gymnastics, and racquetball. But it soon came to mean so much more than that.
"I was a Y member and used the facility," Stephanie reflected, "but I didn't recognize my connection to the Y until 2012."
On Sunday July 15, 2012 Stephanie crossed the finish line of the Seattle "See Jane Run" Half Marathon and had a sudden cardiac arrest. After 25 minutes of CPR along with defibrillation, the medics induced Stephanie into a coma and transported her to Harborview. She spent three days in a coma, when the team of doctors discovered that she was born with a congenital heart defect. She remained at Harborview until being transferred to UW Medical Hospital, where she had open heart surgery.
"Luckily, I was at the right place at the right time and in good shape... it saved my life," Stephanie said. "I attribute my life to the Seattle medics, Harborview/UW Medical doctors and nurses, my family and friends, and the Mel Korum YMCA."
Stephanie describes her relationship with The Y as an extended family with a generous amount of support and encouragement. She is always greeted with a warm smile and "good morning" from the YMCA staff, even at 4:30am. Stephanie takes a Y vitamin when she leaves, a piece of paper with a bible verse or inspirational quote.
"It sets my day up right," Stephanie said.
Stephanie is back running half marathons and has become a "Half Fanatic" by running three half marathons in less than 90 days last year. She says she is blessed to have a fantastic Y personal trainer who she has worked with for 8 years, and has met many people who she now calls her closest friends.
"The Y has empowered me to be healthier in mind, body, and spirit, and I hope I am able to share this everyone I meet."