September 24, 2018
U.S. Army veteran Danny D. Dixon II would have never imagined all he has accomplished and overcome in the past two years. Although he is still on his journey toward physical and emotional self-improvement, Danny describes his life today as a “total change.” He credits the power of his spiritual faith, his Veterans Affairs support group, and his Lake View YMCA family for allowing him to cultivate a happier and healthier life.
After serving our country for three years, Danny was released on disability due to injuries incurred in the line of duty. He was also later diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. But perhaps the greatest difficulty he experienced was the passing of his mother. A devoted son, Danny served as her full-time caregiver while she battled lung disease.
When she passed away in 2015, he isolated himself.
He hardly had time to care for himself and his injuries inhibited him from working out. Due to his fixed income, going to the gym did not seem like an option, so he continued to gain weight. “That's how the YMCA helped me a lot — I could not afford to go to the gym, any gym, and when they provided me with financial assistance, it was a blessing,” he shares.
In 2017, the Lake View YMCA provided more than $46,000 in financial assistance for memberships and programs.
Danny has been a member of several YMCA centers, but he has called the Lake View Y his home for two years. His “lifeline” of members and staff, including Executive Director Jeremy McFadden, have noticed the remarkable progress he’s made thus far. He has lost 63 pounds and continues to work toward his goal of losing 100 pounds with the help of Bertrand, a physical fitness trainer at the Y who’s provided him with a dieting and weight training program. The Y has “taken me out of isolation and into an environment of people that showed they cared for me,” he says. “The friends that I met here at the Y all accepted me and made me successful in my endeavor to lose the weight.”
These days, Danny spends much of his time giving back to the community. He shares messages of hope on LifeConnection Radio, a community Christian radio station. He does the daily devotional and also recently started a one-hour radio show called Cousin Dan’s Place, which he hopes will inspire others who may be feeling alone. “By losing the weight and being more confident about myself, it was allowing me to tap into my talents that God blessed me with,” Danny explains.
One of Danny’s most special moments at the Y was the time Lake View Y members and staff took him out to celebrate winning a friendly weight loss competition. “I found a family, another family. So I would say in a word, that's why you should join the Y, because you can find a family.”
You can help provide financial assistance to members like Danny. Donate now to the Lake View YMCA Annual Fund.