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Linda Manages Diabetes, Inspires Others at Benjamin Harrison YMCA

June 25, 2019

There are people in the world who were sent to put a smile on the face of everyone they meet. Linda Rich is one of those people, and we are happy to have her as a member of the YMCA.

Linda has been a proud member of our YMCA for over 10 years. You can find her involved in Active Older Adults classes, Senior Backpack Program, Youth Sports, or just working out on her own. The moment she walks through the sliding doors, she lights up the Y with her greetings, compliments and smile.

“I love being in the hallway when she walks through. She instantly brightens my day,” says ones member.

Y for all

Before Linda was at the YMCA, she didn't think she could afford the membership rate. When she heard about the scholarship program, her mind was changed immediately. Many don't know that the YMCA is a non-profit organization.

The Benjamin Harrison YMCA alone gives over $500,000 back to the community through memberships, programs and events. Staff and members raise money to help keep the cause of the Y alive. In 2018, the Benjamin Harrison YMCA Annual Campaign raised only $380,000 of that $500,000 so there's more need than this can cover.

Diet and exercise are key

Linda was diagnosed with Diabetes over 13 years ago and, thanks to diet and exercise, she does not take medication for it. She tries to make all 5 SilverSneakers®/Active Older Adult group exercise classes each week. No matter what goes on in her life, Linda keeps a healthy diet at the forefront.

To this day, if her doctor mentions medicine for cholesterol, high blood pressure, etc., Linda tells him, “I don’t like medicine. Give me a chance to get it down.” She adjusts her diet according to his recommendations and gets more involved in physical activity. By the next appointment, she no longer needs medication.

“Even though I retired my scale about 5-6 years ago, I've been able to reverse my "weight gains" for 5 years! I was looking at needing to buy and wear size 16/large clothing, BUT I am happy to say that I'm now wearing size 10-12/medium...Yay! I am 4 feet 11 inches tall. Extra weight is not a plus for my heart or my overall good health.”

Positive middle ground

In 2012, Linda’s husband, David, was diagnosed with cancer. As many know, this can be a stressful time and negatively impact the family. Linda turned to the Y to be her positive middle ground. She still uses the Y as a place to come and revive herself and her kids.

“I have my days when I get tired of being me. Then I come in here and forget all about it.”

Linda influences so many members with her positive outlook but is also influenced by others, like Terry Zoubul, 85 year-old personal training and Active Older Adults coordinator.

“I see Terry zooming into the Y at all hours with such a positive attitude. She is a true inspiration to me. Sometimes I’m just sitting in here waiting on the kids, then I see her and I think, ‘If she can do it, I will too,' and I go work out.”

[caption id="attachment_14840" align="alignright" width="171"]Linda & Terry Linda and Terry have been inspiring each other at the YMCA for many years![/caption]

This year, Linda has been a member of the Senior Walking Group. With all the walking and stretching she has been doing, her leg cramps are nil. Before the Walking Group, she would come in the morning after dropping the kids off at school and walk on the treadmill 3-5 times a week for 30 minutes just to keep moving.

Her new found love for walking has encouraged her to walk in the Benjamin Harrison YMCA Freedom 5K on July 6, 2019.

Room for more

David and Linda have four grown kids. In 2005, they were blessed with twin foster children. The bond was instant, and they soon adopted them. The kids grew up frequenting the YMCA for childcare and youth sports. Amber Miller, associate program director of sports and teens, had an especially positive impact.

“Linda has always been there for her kids, pushing them to do their best in academics and in sports. She instills a sense of leadership and responsibility in them that is getting hard to come by,” said Miller.

Flag Football is one of the many sports that the Rich's have enjoyed over the years.

Helping others

She does not stop at working out. Linda has also gotten involved in the Y's Senior Backpack Program that gives food to area seniors and connected them to her toilet paper ministry so the seniors would have a little something extra. It’s the little things we take for granted.

“I thank the Y for giving me an opportunity to give back.”

Linda meant that in regards to the toilet paper donations, but she gives back with her positive attitude and drive every day. Our YMCA would not be the same without people like Linda who make it a wonderful loving family.

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