Everyone comes out a winner

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

About three weeks ago, the YMCA Community Chorus had a surprise visit from a recipient of the scholarship fund who let us know why the YMCA Community Chorus is so important

The person who asked to remain anonymous because she doesn’t want anyone to feel sorry for her, wanted to come to tell us why she is so grateful for what we are doing. Therefore, I will refer to this woman as Jane Doe.

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Doe said that when you are able to say thank you, that is a blessing in itself. She is now declared legally blind from sickle cell anemia and has diabetes.

But before her health began to fail, she was able to hold down full time jobs just like any healthy person.

She and her husband had been residents of New Jersey, and she had been employed as a social worker for 10 years, and an airline reservation employee for 12 years. She said that she has helped people all of her life and considers it a good reward that now she is able to be on the receiving end of the helping hand.

She also had joined the Catholic church and her husband chose to go to a non-denominational one. Because of her faith when she got pregnant, she had to make some important decisions about if it was best to terminate the pregnancy or go through surgery to save her eyesight because she was told by doctors that she may lose it if she had the baby..

She also had a sister who had sickle cell, who died at the age of 29. She said that when she had her baby, she almost died, too. However, she chose to go through the pregnancy, had her baby, but lost her sight in 1996. She said that she may have lost her sight but God gave her wonderful insight.

Her son is now six years old and she and her husband decided to move to Suffolk, even though neither one knew anyone living in this area.

She is now on disability and many times does not feel well enough to take care of

her son.

She said that they moved here because of her health and because her husband found a good job. The job required him to be away from the house and to leave them alone for long periods of time which caused great stress on her since she didn’t feel well, was tired a lot and in pain most of the time.

They eventually found a church in the area that lead them to the YMCA. She learned about the different programs and the summer camp and knew that it would be the answer to her prayer if her child could attend. It meant that her son could be away from her and her illness. However, they were living on their savings and could not afford the camp. They then learned about the scholarships that were made possible because of the YMCA Community Chorus concerts that could make it happen.

She applied for one and her son was accepted. She said that when he attends, by the time he gets home she has had a chance to function as a mother and can better take care of her family. She also said that the Y has given him a lot and has helped with socializing, reading, going on trips, participating in arts and crafts and even learning how to swim.

After she left, we choir members seemed to feel proud to know that we were doing a good thing and that there are more grateful people out there who are benefiting from our efforts just like Jane Doe.

This will be our 13th annual performance and we have made a difference in many people’s lives over all

of these years. You can make a difference, too, by attending our concerts this weekend at Kings Fork Middle School. The Saturday night performance will begin at 7:30 and the Sunday afternoon performance will begin at 3. Tickets are $10 and a free family membership will be raffled off during each concert. To purchase your ticket, you may contact any member of the chorus or call the Y at 934-9622.

Jane Doe wants to express her thanks further and has told Jeff Ward, the director of the Y, that she will be making a delicious dessert for everyone to enjoy at the dress rehearsal on Friday night.

Chorus members will also be treated to a barbecue dinner and can invite their spouse or a friend to dinner immediately after the concert on Sunday in Kings Fork Middle School cafeteria.

The appreciation gift that I really benefited from this year is the complimentary Y membership that each of us received for our participation in the chorus and concerts.

Because I took the advantage of the use of some of

the YMCA’s

exercise equipment, I will be singing in concerts this year four pounds lighter than when we began practicing in January.

There is something for everyone in the variety of music that will be introduced in two great concerts.

So you see, by being a member of this remarkable chorus, by being a recipient of one of the scholarships or by attending at least of

the concerts, everyone is in the receiving mode and comes out a winner.

Evelyn Wall is a staff writer for the News-Herald.