Victor Gossman was convinced his “world was coming to an end” 21 months ago after suffering a stroke. At 81-years-old, the Branford resident had been living an active life filled with hobbies and volunteer work. Left with balance and endurance impairments, Victor was worried about what his future held. 

After months of recovery including participation in two of the YMCA LiveWell programs -- Fit For Function and Balance+ -- at the Brantford Family YMCA, he felt there was a light at the end of the tunnel. With each passing week he grew stronger and more confident.

“I’m convinced my recovery was a lot more rapid because of the exercise programs,” says Victor.  “I finally had something to look forward to again. And the staff are so encouraging; they really put their hearts into it. The Y is welcoming no matter what your ability or fitness level.” 

“We know that dealing with health challenges can be difficult,” says Genevieve Hladysh, Senior Regional Manager, Health Fitness and Aquatics. “That’s why we focus on the whole person, not just the disease. We meet people where they are at.”  

Three in five Canadians over the age of 20 have at least one chronic disease. The diversified programming available to the community at the YMCA means that support and services are available for individuals who may not otherwise have the opportunity to get active. They are also able to gain access to a social network of peer support. 

Today, Victor works out several times a week with his wife, Christine. Their history with the Y began close to fifty years ago at the Durban YMCA in South Aftrica where the pair played badminton together. 

Less than a year after his stroke Victor has resumed volunteering, woodworking, and is able to play and walk 15 holes of golf. He regularly drops-in to visit the Fit For Function program, encouraging others in their shared journey. 

The former surfer is looking forward to the Laurier Brantford YMCA and the ability to add aquatics in the new pool to his exercise routine.