My Y Story – Ashley Hughes
Some Fights Shouldn’t Be Fought Alone
There will always be points in our lives in which we find ourselves too weak to carry on and without the strength to reach our full potential. It is in these moments that we can rely on our community to give us the strength and support needed to make our dreams a reality. For Ashley Hughes, the source of her weakness was two years of intense cancer treatment, followed by nearly a decade of side affects, and eventually a shoulder replacement in 2012. The treatment that saved her life had also unfortunately deteriorated her joints. It was at this point that Ashley turned to the LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA program for the support she so desperately needed. Here, she got her ‘strong’ back.
LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA is a free rehabilitation program aimed at improving the quality of life for cancer survivors following the completion of their treatment. Through the work of certified instructors and trainers equipped with specialized training, participants are provided with customized recovery plans. Ashley was able to share her experience with this program alongside other LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA graduates last January at Central’s Pedal for a Purpose event.
For Ashley, her journey has come full circle. She was once a member of the program, fighting just to regain aspects of her old life, now she is a peer mentor aiding others in their journey toward holistic health. Ashley’s chance to finally go wakeboarding after 12 years symbolized her graduation from the program and a distancing from the devastating effects of her treatment. It may not seem like much, but for Ashley and her LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA community, it was nothing short of a miracle. The LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA Alumni Club is what Ashley describes as her ‘church.’ Not only has this community helped her in her healing process, but it has inspired her to push herself to be her very best. Taking the 20 hours of training needed to become a peer mentor for future LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA classes is Ashley’s way of giving back.
Being able to overcome great adversities and eventually help others do the same embodies very essence of the Y’s mission. Communities like the Y that are founded in love and hope for the future are often the ones that move us the most. Ashley’s story, and many like hers, stand as a testament to the Y’s commitment of empowering individuals to achieve healthier mind, body, and spirit.
For all the arduous trials Ashley has endured, she can find comfort in knowing that her experience has left her a stronger person. While she was receiving doses of radiation and contemplating if she would ever get the chance to wakeboard again, she never thought that her story of misfortune would become one of empowerment and love. Never did she think that along the way she would make bonds and friendships that will endure a lifetime. Ashley found the LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA program when she needed it’s support the most. Now, she is committed to be there for those in need of the same life-changing support.
The LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA probram provides much more than physical therapy. In order to instill greatness, the Y takes a holistic approach. This means understanding that everyone has the potential both to inspire, and to be inspired.