Like most people, I never thought it could happen to me.

I was 46, running my own business as a leadership coach, and feeling tired. Then I got the news. I had an aortic aneurysm and needed to have open heart surgery. It was hard to grasp, even though heart disease runs in my family.

My initial recovery was not easy. It took months to get the green light from my cardiologist to start cardiac rehab. That’s when I met Amrita, a Kinesiologist who worked in the Cardiac Rehab program at the Y. Amrita and the other trainers helped me realize I could recover in a safe way and I gained the confidence I needed to heal quickly.

But it wasn’t just the program that helped me heal. It was the sense of community I found. I met some fellow cardiac patient survivors in the cardiac program, and although I was the youngest in the group, age doesn’t come in the way of bonding with others who have been through similar life events.

After I graduated from the program, I knew I  needed to focus on my health and I officially became a Y member and continued to work with Amrita, who inspires me with her warmth and positivity every day.

I also come here sometimes early in the morning and sit quietly in one of the windows near the track. I listen to a meditation app, breathe and prepare for my day.

I often meet friends, colleagues and clients who have made the Y their “sacred place” too. Not a day goes by that I don’t see a familiar face or smile. I’m surrounded by warmth, positivity and friendship.

I’m not sure where I would be without the Y. I feel at home every day when I walk through those doors.