Every Day Another Chance to Share

In July 2019, Chuck was in a dark place in his life. Nearly 600 pounds and on antidepressants and other medications, he says he could barely walk without getting tired. “I would constantly eat and sleep, and I was gaining a lot of weight. I was killing myself,” he says.

It was Chuck’s young daughter who he says inspired him to seek help. “She called and said to me, ‘Daddy, can you do me a favor? Can you please work out? Because I don’t want you to die.’” He took that emotional plea to heart and decided to make drastic lifestyle changes and started exercising at the YMCA six days a week. He admits it wasn’t easy in the beginning. “I could barely walk without breathing heavily. I had to use the elevator to get to the Wellness Center,” he says. Fast forward six months later, and you’ll see Chuck doing an hour of cardio, running the track, and swimming laps in the pool without missing a beat. “It’s a way for me to stay focused so I don’t fall back into that dark place. I’m a whole different person now.”

Chuck has become a familiar face at the YMCA and is a source of motivation for both members and staff alike. “A lot of people say they look up to me,” he says. “But what they don’t know is that they motivate me to be better.” He recalls a specific interaction that he says really touched his heart. “I was working out one day and a young kid came up to me and said, ‘Mr. Chuck, I just wanted to tell you that I’m proud of you’. It really got me emotional. It’s incredible what God is doing for me.”

For Chuck every day at the Y is another chance to share his story. “I’ve been through a lot in my life, but I don’t let it knock me down. I use it as motivation in the gym. I even cry sometimes, because it’s all my past pain coming out.”

Now seven months into his wellness journey, Chuck has lost more than 175 pounds and shows no signs of slowing down. More importantly, he’s gained a new, positive outlook on life. “Sometimes you need a spark to get yourself going, and I thank God that my daughter called me that day. I’m doing this for her,” he says. “Two words: don’t stop. I was in a dark place months ago. Now, I’m going towards the light.”