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Y Story: Jean Boddy

by User Not Found | October 27, 2017, 09:14 AM


As a teacher of 40 years, Jean Boddy was used to taking care of others. But when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016, she had to learn to ask others for what she needed and for support.

Jean was attending a yearly mammogram screening when they found a spot.

“It was a small spot, but still not good,” Jean said. “You have to try to find the silver lining, though.”

After her breast cancer diagnosis in June, her initial surgery was in July of 2016. After surgery, she knew that finding a physical therapy program that catered to her needs would help her regain her strength. 

“You’re in shock when you first hear that you have cancer. And what you do from there is really important to stop and think about. It’s not just about making decisions about your treatment, there are a ton of confusing treatment options that are overwhelming,” Jean said. 

She turned to the Y for advice. 

“I learned to swim at the Y in Indiana as a kid, then belonged to the Y in Memphis, and my grandchildren just learned to swim at the Y too,” explained Jean. “I have a very positive view of the Y.”

Jean met with staff at the YMCA and was recommended the LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA program. 

She began LIVESTRONG after her first surgery, but had to take a break from it due to her second surgery. In February of 2017, Jean rejoined for the duration of the program and graduated feeling strong and confident.

“Everyone made me feel great here,” she said. “I felt really welcomed and it all started with LIVESTRONG.”

Through LIVESTRONG, she met other survivors who introduced her to additional programs offered at the Tri-Lakes YMCA. Jean joined Silver Sneakers and attended her first yoga class: Chair Yoga. She enjoyed it so much, she continued to take yoga classes as she regained her strength, and was able to graduate from Chair Yoga to Gentle Yoga and, eventually, the more advanced Multi-level Yoga class.

“I’ve tried so many classes… [but] there are [still] some things that I know I can't do. And I have to accept those limitations even though it’s really hard for me to do, but I’m trying,” she said.

Jean represents the best of the Y family. She has stayed positive throughout her diagnosis, treatment, and recovery, and continues to work hard each day to be the healthiest she can be. She found empathy and support in LIVESTRONG at the YMCA, and she wants to share that with others who may be going through exactly what she did.

“There are so many of us around here that are survivors and that are more than willing to listen,” she said. “If you can find someone who’s gone what you’re going through, being able to talk to someone who will hear you out and share their story, that’s the best thing.”

Jean’s advice for anyone battling cancer is to get back and get active. 

“I feel better about myself because I keep going to classes and doing things. And people here at the Y people are so supportive and positive,” she said. 

“Ask for what you need. That’s really hard for some of us to do because we are usually the one taking care of others. [But] there are a lot of support groups around. You may not think that you need to be in one, but try.”

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