Health Blog

Meet Lawrence. 

I first saw Lawrence when he was traveling by wheelchair across the Eureka Way overpass, and he inspired me. When I saw him at the Y, I ran after him outside to see if he would share his story with me so I could share it with our Y community on social media. He agreed. 

He told me he was almost 400 pounds and could hardly stand on his own. He struggled with mental illness and drug and alcohol abuse for 50 years, which prevented him from seeing his children and grandchildren. He knew he had to make big changes in his life, and decided to take the advice of his drug and alcohol counselor, and join the Y. 

Every day, multiple times a day, he pushed himself in his wheelchair from his hotel to the Y to take aqua classes. He told me that one of our aqua instructors, Christine, helped him on the side of the road when his wheelchair broke, and she even bought him a brand new wheelchair. He not only appreciates her classes, but her friendship as well. 

After we shared his story on social media, comments came in congratulating him on his success. I wanted to be sure Lawrence heard them, and as I read one that said, “I’m so proud of you”, he asked who said it. When I said the name, his eyes teared up as he said, “That’s my daughter.” 

Soon after, Lawrence asked me to help him with the paperwork needed to get gastric bypass surgery. A few weeks later, I saw him for the first time since his surgery, and I hardly recognized him. I said, “Lawrence! You look so good!” and he smiled with pride. 

Today, Lawrence has lost 125 pounds, and feels healthier physically and mentally. He can walk on his own, and spent the holidays with his children and grandchildren for the first time ever. 

Lawrence receives Financial Assistance and is grateful for the opportunity to have a Y membership at a discounted price. Now, he’s ready to get back to work and start volunteering for our community.

Lawrence says, “Everything is coming together for me. The Y has been phenomenal. I could not have done it without the Y and the people here. I can’t come here without smiling - I love this place!”  

To share your story, contact Alex Biegel at 530.246.9622 or [email protected].

Locations: Shasta Family YMCA
Category: Health