SIDNEY — Tim Jordan knows the importance of exercise. Joining the Sidney-Shelby County YMCA after receiving a heart transplant helped him get back to living a healthy lifestyle.
Oliver Marchus knows the importance of family. For him the Sidney Sidney County YMCA and its members are part of his second family.
Both Jordan and Marchus shared their YMCA stories Thursday, Feb. 14, during the 2019 Community Partners Campaign kickoff. And appropriately, since the event was held on Valentine’s Day, the theme for this year’s campaign is “The Power of Love.”
“I’ve been told the power of love is giving a gift to someone without them knowing who gave it to them,” said YMCA Board President Will Balling. “In our everyday lives, we see a lot of bad things. Being board present, I’ve seen things that just melts your heart.”
Susan Shaffer, campaign vice chair, said she has been a “Y member since the day I was born. Now I want to pass the Y memories to my kids. I want to pass them onto future generations of Y members.”
Shaffer, who shared campaign chair’s Dr. Lisa Alvetro’s message, said it’s important to remember that the YMCA is a charitable organization.
“We have 72 volunteers working on the campaign,” said Shaffer. “We’re hoping to exceed the $38,500 goal” for the partnership campaign. The goal for the entire campaign is $125,000.
Thus far, said Shaffer, the YMCA staff has raised $8,446. They hope to raise 126 percent of their goal for the campaign. The board members have donated $4,400 for the board campaign so far. Their goal is 100 percent participation.
The community partners campaign will last approximately two weeks.
The major gifts campaign, she said, starts in mid March.
“We have to live up to the YMCA policy of never turning anyone away,” said Shaffer. “The assistance we provide can be life changing for the person.”
And one of those people receiving assistance was Jordan, who was diagnosed with congestive heart failure 17 years ago.
“My dad died of it,” said Jordan. “Because of me, my younger brother was checked out. The doctors told him he was within days of dying. I figure I saved his life.”
Jordan said he was given medicine for his heart condition and began working out.
“I lost 65 pounds,” said Jordan. “A couple of years ago, it (my heart) got bad again. I went to the Cleveland Clinic for tests.”
Jordan was supposed to be there for four days of testing. On the second day, they performed a heart cath and discovered his heart was in worse shape than they thought it was. He received a heart pump and was placed on the transplant waiting list on May 22, 2017.
On Dec. 7, 2017, Jordan received a call that a heart was available for him. He received his new heart on Dec. 8, 2017. He was in surgery for 12 hours and in ICU for 10 days. He stayed at a transplant house until he was cleared to move back home.
Because of the anti-rejection medicine he takes, he could no longer walk or exercise outside. So he visited YMCA to see what they could offer him.
“When they told me the prices, I said I wasn’t sure I can afford it,” said Jordan. “I was told to apply for financial help. Because of people and donations like you” he was able to join the YMCA.
“The YMCA has had a big impact on me,” said Jordan.
Marchus’ story was shared via a video. He talked about how hard it was to fit in at school — he attended numerous schools while growing up. He is a senior this year and ready for graduation in a few months.
“At recess, I would grab the same puzzle every day,” he said, describing himself as shy and not quite fitting in with his classmates. “The YMCA has helped me change. I have friends (at the YMCA) and we’re having fun together.”
The YMCA is an important part of his life, said Marchus.
“When I first became a member, I was in the summer program,” he said. “Then I joined children’s gymnastics.”
He was also on the swim team and is a current member of the competitive acrobatics team. This is his fifth-year on the team. He’s also a member of the Leader’s Club and is a coach for the special needs cheer team.
“This is like a second home to me,” said Marchus. “I know everybody here and they know me.”
Marchus said the adults at the YMCA are second parents to him and the members of the acrobatic team are like his siblings.
“The YMCA provided me with my first social network,” said Marchus.
Mark Kaufman, YMCA Financial Development director, said when Marchus graduates from high school he will also be receiving his bachelor’s degree from Wright State University. Then he will begin studies for his masters and doctorate in microbiology.
“Oliver is uber intelligent,” said Kaufman.
The four priorities for the campaign, said Kaufman, deal with obesity and chronic health issues; teen impact; closing the achievement gap for Sidney City and Fairlawn Local school districts; and accessibility to all (YMCA membership and programs).
Ed Thomas, YMCA CEO and executive director, said the YMCA is “our own best kept secret” in Shelby County.
“We need to provide a higher level of awareness of all the YMCA has to offer,” said Thomas. “Our purpose is deeper than what people know. We address the community’s critical needs.
“Lives are being changed through our programs,” said Thomas. “But none of this would be possible without you and our neighbors. Your presence and this partnership helps to deliver positive changes. The Sidney-Shelby County YMCA’s impact is powerful. That’s the power of love. That’s the power of us together.”
Thomas said 100 percent of all money raised in the campaign is invested locally in community needs.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4822.