Y Inspired Story - Meet Donna Willard

June 28, 2017

Most days you can find Donna taking a water aerobics class or working out at the Y. Since November, Donna has lost over 30 pounds which she attributes to frequent exercise and cutting out sugar and breads from her diet. Aside from her weight loss journey, Donna has also been working through medical issues. Donna recently learned that she has fibromyalgia, and she also suffers from depression and anxiety. She attributes the Y to helping her as a form of physical and mental therapy. “I crave coming to the Y like medicine. It actually works better than medicine for my condition,” said Willard. I started out doing warm water arthritis therapy class and have progressed to aerobics and hydropilates,” said Willard. Donna’s commitment to her health has given her the ability to go from having trouble walking to walking at least 10,000 steps per day. Donna also participated this year’s Group X Challenge and was one of the weekly winners. “I feel like I’m getting stronger. I was ahead of other people the other day and that has never happened before,” said Willard. Donna has gotten much more out of her Y membership than just a healthier lifestyle. She has made a lot of new friends and found a place to connect and belong. One of Donna’s favorite things about the Y is that it’s Christian based. “One of my first days here I put a prayer request in,” said Willard. In Donna’s spare time, she co-leads an arthritis support group in the Roanoke Valley. The group meets the second Monday of each month at Fairington Apartments.