Nine years ago, Tania Giles’ life took a turn for the worst, but thanks to her community and the YMCA, she is able to tell her story and inspire others during their dark days.

In June 2010, Tania had a hysterectomy. Although she was nervous, she was convinced it was a routine procedure and her life would be back to normal in no time. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as routine as expected. Tania’s bowel ended up failing and doctors thought her chances of surviving were slim.

“During this time, the YMCA called my husband almost everyday to see how I was doing,” Tania said.

She explained how she didn’t understand why a gym would care so much about her.

“Later, I realized just how much the Y cared and how much I needed them.”  

The doctor asked Tania’s husband if she worked out. He explained how prior to her operations she exercised daily. The doctor said this is what saved her life. 

“Because of my routine at the Y, I was strong and had the will to keep going,” she said.  

However, the road to recovery was long. Tania ended up needing a colostomy and a vac pack on her stomach to heal the wound.  By late August 2010, she had another operation to reinsert her bowel. 

“I thought everything was fixed, but in 2013 my troubles with my bowel started again,” she explained. “My life started to spin out of control. My employer and my husband were sick and tired of me missing work and not bringing an income in on a regular basis.”  

This was Tania’s rock bottom.

“I did not want to live and I begged God every night to take me,” she said. “I was so very tired and in so much pain that I just wanted to go to sleep and not wake up.”

Tania’s husband left her, she lost her job and she was feeling weaker than ever. It was a new job at Costco and her YMCA family that gave her the hope to keep moving on.

“My manager at Costco at the time was so understanding. Costco supported me every step of the way.”   

Costco helped Tania get into therapy, and although she felt little hope she always went to the YMCA. 

“Even on my worst days I came to the Y, I felt safe and needed the community,” she said.   

When Tania told her Y family that she had no money for food, staff and members took up a collection to help her. She became friends with members, and according to Tania they moved mountains for her.

“They got me a place to live so I could learn to think for myself and be independent,” she explained.

And Tania’s new independent home was within walking distance to the Y.

“My Y family asked for nothing in return except for me to work out and take care of my mental health.”

Thanks to the Fredericton YMCA’s Strong Kids Campaign, Tania was able to participate in Y programs.  Funds raised through Strong Kids support adults, families and children. The Y ensures that no one is turned away due to financial barriers.

“My Y membership has changed my life.”