SARATOGA SPRINGS — Concluding the month of love and heart-healthy awareness, the Saratoga Regional YMCA (SRYMCA) kicks off this year’s “Be a Hero” campaign for their annual fundraiser.
The YMCA pre-school students welcomed attendees by singing the Barney and Friends theme song, “I love you.” This set the tone of the event, that emphasized how closely health, community, and love interconnect throughout Saratoga county’s YMCAs.
This year’s face of the “Be a Hero” campaign is Air Force veteran, Joe Miller. Miller was suffering from diabetes, losing his vision and his overall health was rapidly declining. During his six months stay at a Veteran’s shelter in Ballston Spa, he was referred to the YMCA’s financial assistance program.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), more than 100 million Americans have diabetes or prediabetes. Diabetes can lead to life-altering complications including kidney disease, heart disease, blindness, and strokes.
“A healthy lifestyle is your road map for managing diabetes, which is the key to preventing or delaying complications,” states CDC website.
Access to an affordable place to get on track with a healthy lifestyle made all the difference in Miller’s life.
“It (the SRYMCA) helps everybody. No matter who you are, no matter what your background is, your color, your creed, or where you come from this financial assistance program is there to help. You can’t beat that at all,” said Miller.
The YMCA pre-school, the pool and swim lessons and the LIVESTRONG program – which is designed to assist cancer survivors to improve their physical fitness – are just a few of the programs in addition to the financial assistance program that is funded by the annual campaign.
“We’re excited that we are able to provide the opportunity for the community not just to give to the Y, but really to give through the Y and make a difference,” said CEO Andrew Bobbit.
Sixty percent of the SRYMCA staff have donated to the fundraiser already. This year’s goal is to raise $400,000 to provide life-changing experiences that will better the community of Saratoga County.