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Pat's Story

“I am so proud of me, because this is so not me. I was determined not to let these physical challenges lead me into a deep depression. Everyone in the class. They are hysterical. I just have such a good time. I feel like my life depends on being able to maintain this routine. I know how much I need to be here.”


My husband was coming to the Y. I started coming thinking I could exercise which was not I could do. Dawn (Welcome Center) got me interested in the Water Exercise Class. She kept reminding me. You gotta sign up. Persistently reminded Pat “you gotta sign up early.” She started at the Y the year she retired. It’s been a couple of years. After I retired, I bought a bike. In the wintertime I would come here to the Y and ride every day for almost an hour. Then I had “bad year”. I had my hip replaced. They broke my femur. January 2017 at the Hartford Hospital New Orthopedic Center. Expected recovery was 6 to 8 weeks.


Overall recovery time with the broken femur was 1 year. Couldn’t go for a walk. Within 3 days after coming home from the hospital she got the shingles. (head, neck, chest). Relationship with Welcome Center staff was critical to getting Pat involved with the Water Exercise Class. Gentle reminders about how competitive the registration process could be encouraged Pat to be sure and be extra early on registration day.

Kitch, “Pat is social and she connects with everybody in the class, but once that class starts, she puts on her work face and she goes. I am so proud of her.”


If the class is full, people can go put their suits on and be ready. If the class is not full that day, drop in participation is allowed with the ability to pay a daily fee at the Welcome Center after class ends.


Pat travels from the shoreline all summer long to attend the water exercise classes at the Y three times a week. My whole life has changed. Pat started riding her bike again this summer 2018. I would not even be thinking of riding my bike if it were not for this class. Everything in my life has changed. I can now walk up the stairs without having to do one step at a time. Last summer 2017, I never went for walks with my next door neighbor. Participating in the class 3x a week has strengthened Pat’s legs. Now I can go for a walk. The instructors make you feel very proud about yourself. They make you feel like you are doing a great job. Everyone here is nice. The custodial staff is nice! Even when you walk by the playground and the preschoolers are outside playing. That’s what this place is all about. People genuinely care about each other. I feel like it’s my second home.


Did you ever get discouraged? I was so ready to make any progress that if I couldn’t do what everybody else in the class was doing, I was okay with that. From the first time I came, it was never a fight. I wanted to come. Pat knew this was going to the be the break she needed. On the first day, she arrived at the Y and discovered she had forgotten her bathing suit. By the time she

got her suit, she was late for class. She knew no one in the class. Pat knew this was going to be the break she needed to get back her life. Everyone says water, water, water. I’m just so happy to be there. I belong there.


Kitch is truly a gift. She brings so much love to that class and so much personality. You never feel like you are out of place even if you can’t do exactly what she is doing. She wants you to just to be there, have fun but she also wants you to learn something. One of the girls said, I go to a balance class that Kitch does at the Senior Center in Middletown.


Pat has had both her knees replaced. Kitch is that star that comes into your life. You are lucky if she comes into your life. She supports all of us. She is very very special. Just getting to know her is an honor and how much she cares, cares about people and cares about the Y.


I’ve never been a strong swimmer and mostly playful in the water at the shore. Last summer 2017, I didn’t go in the water at all because I couldn’t cross the sand. 

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