Seven years ago Mari made an early entrance into this world! Once we got her plumped up and healthy I started taking her to swim lessons at The Y in Red Bank where we live. She was 8 months old and I didn’t know it at the time, but it was the best thing I could have done for her.

We got a diagnosis of mild cerebral palsy after age 2, and combined with lots of physical therapy, she made big strides, but swimming has been her favorite, especially with Miss Eugenie.

Every time we leave the Y, Mari asks if she can walk down the sidewalk for a bit on her own. Last May I sat and watched her run down the sidewalk and all around, so far, farther than I’ve seen her go on her own like that.

Eugenie and I have talked about that carry over from water to land, and it’s pretty neat to see it. I was just amazed at how far she had come in all of her therapies and at just how on fire she is after swimming! The water is truly liberating for her, and she enjoys every minute with Eugenie. They laugh and make such progress every week. She can do the butterfly now! Eugenie has been our hero.

We were able to join the preschool gym class there, do arts and crafts classes, and take part as a family in helping to build the playground. We’ve made connections with others in our community. In fact, the Red Bank Elks just donated an adaptive tricycle to Mari and that was because a member we’ve gotten to know used to see her in that preschool gym class running the track with her walker.

Mari has been able to have a Healthy Kids membership recently while we had to put ours on hold for a bit and that helps us bridge the gap with medical expenses. Programs like that help so many kids and families be part of the Y community. We are truly thankful for everyone at the Y and she’s going to keep on swimming!

Thank you!
– Mandy Hanigan

Our Y has nurtured strong individuals and communities since 1874, transforming lives through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Learn more about the ways your support to our Annual Campaign opens our doors for all. >