Kristin Rehder

Kristin Rehder rounded

I walk around and around the track at the City Center Y. In the gym below, squealing kids play a version of dodge ball, four sharpshooters square off under a side hoop, and a father gives his son a quick boxing lesson. I think back to when I was a young athlete whose engine never idled. Exercise and competition delivered friends, skills, teamwork, and independence. Though I was very good in the classroom, I was at my best in sports. It’s not unusual then that when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in the late spring of 2013, I turned to exercise at the Y to connect me to my core—to help me survive and thrive. At first, with chemo, I didn’t have enough strength to walk a single lap. Eventually, after surgery, as I transitioned to radiation, I started to build some endurance. For 33 weekdays in the winter months of 2014, I drove straight to the Y after my treatments to hit the track, walking just a mile each time then unwinding with some tai chi. Going to the Y wasn’t just about the benefits of exercise and strengthening (there were many!). My daily commitment gave me something to look forward to beyond the radiation routine, and as I walked, I felt alive, hopeful, and determined. I had very few health problems as my treatments progressed. My spirits were high. The technicians and nurses at the Barshinger Cancer Institute, to whom I am so grateful, would ask each day: “Are you going to the Y?” “Yes,” I’d say. And I did. We all knew it was making a difference. On February 3, 2014, I had my last treatment for breast cancer. Now I am one of the fortunate ones. I have a new start. The Y helped to make it so. Thank you, round and round again.