Will G.

Lakewood Family YMCA

When Will came to Lakewood from Tulsa, Oklahoma to visit his children and grandchildren for Christmas, he wasn't expecting the trip to change his life. While Will was visiting, he became very sick and went to the doctor with nerve pain. He was treated, but a few days later, he learned that he had pancreatic cancer and that it had already progressed to stage four. The doctor gave him a year to live.

Will began aggressive chemotherapy, lost 35 pounds, and started to use a cane to keep his balance when walking.

"I looked like the skeleton in the corner of a biology classroom," he jokes.

His doctor suggested that he start an exercise regime to counteract the effects of his chemotherapy. Will had grown up at the Y in Tulsa, where he went to summer camp program as a child, so he decided to join the Lakewood Family YMCA. He made a FitPath appointment, set up an ActivTrax account, and started to exercise regularly.

"Chemo takes a lot out of me," Will said. "The ActivTrax program has helped me tremendously."

By becoming a Y member, Will got more than just a gym, he gained a support group of members and staff who care about him and even check on him when he doesn't come in.

"I've met some beautiful people here. I have a family here. Without them, I would stay at home and wilt away, but they make it so easy and fun to be here."

More than a year-and-a-half after his diagnosis, Will's three tumors are shrinking. His cancer is incurable, but his doctor tells him that his active lifestyle, healthy diet, and chemotherapy have helped him reach a maintainable stage.

"I'm thankful things went the way they did," Will said. "I enjoy living."