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My wife and I joined the YWCA after her diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease and the need for regular exercise. We visited several fitness facilities in the area, including the YMCA and Gold’s Gym, but felt the programs at the YWCA to be the most appropriate.

The weekly program of water aerobics has produced physical relief and much improved ability to my wife. This has reduced the progress of Parkinson’s and greatly increased her confidence for coping with the disease.

Class schedules are much more conducive to her needs. The staff, leaders and other class members are very supportive of her. Our experience has been a very positive and therapeutic one.

We are very disappointed at the YWCA’s Board’s decision to discontinue these services. This has removed a vital source of our meeting the physical and emotional challenges of Parkinson’s disease. If the YWCA exists partly for the “Empowering of Women,” this action removes power to women like my wife. It is, if fact, de-powering her.

I urge the board to reconsider this decision. The YWCA has long existed to provide support to the community, which has resulted in generous voluntary financial support. The community needs these services.

Being ignored are the needs of many people like my wife and the needs of the Bloomington-Normal community at a time when the services offer unique opportunities found nowhere else in this area. 

Bob Howard, Bloomington

The writer’s wife, Billie, joins in this letter.

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