Lee-Giving Tuesday | West Suburban YMCA

Giving Tuesday: Lee's Story

Dec 19, 2022

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The definition of freedom is to be able to act without hindrance or restraint. Freedom is also how Lee Goldstone describes what the Y does for her. As a senior member of the West Suburban YMCA, Lee is 92 years young. Yes, young is the word that comes to mind when you see her in and around the pool area three days a week. Lee and her son, David, recently shared about Lee’s journey from wheelchair-bound to walking with confidence, and how the Y made this transformation possible.  


Born in 1930 in Germany, Lee Goldstone is described by her son, David, as a remarkable lady. After being relocated to the United States with her family as a young girl, Lee received an education that led her to become a first-grade teacher for 38 years in a low-income neighborhood in New Jersey. She is part of our Impact- in-Action story today, but an MIT alumnus submitted a paper naming Lee the most impactful teacher of his life. 


Years after becoming a wife and raising her family, Lee found herself widowed in Florida with David and his family living all the way in Massachusetts. David recalls trips to visit Lee, 87 years old at the time, who was wheelchair-bound, had terrible arthritis in both legs, living alone, and unable to care or cook for herself. One trip to the doctor confirmed that Lee was not healthy enough to have much needed spine surgery. David knew it was time to move his mother to Massachusetts so that he could better care for her. When Lee was ready, and only when she made the choice to move, David found Boston doctors that were willing to operate.  


The sequence of events that happened next came fast and started only four short years ago. Lee moved into an assisted living facility in Newton close to David. She started eating healthier meals and interacting with more people throughout her days. She felt the love and connection of family close by. Lee went through spine surgery and two hip replacements, with the Covid pandemic thrown between the latter.  


Lee found the Y after moving to Massachusetts. She has always loved the water and wanted to experience exercise once again. She is one of our members that made it a point to come during Covid whenever we were open. If there was ever a person to express the saying “where there’s a will, there’s a way”, Lee’s picture would be the first to pop up. The meaningful friendships she has made with other members from the Aqua Fit class that she attends every week have inspired others at her assisted living facility to join the West Suburban YMCA. Her Y friends are becoming outside-of-the-Y friends, too, sharing that they plan outings to visit Lee at her home. Lee visits the Y three days a week to swim (though she wishes she could come everyday), walks around the neighborhood daily, and will prove to whomever challenges her that she can walk without the help of anybody or anything. Her boastful disposition is proof that life can be unpredictable, but all you need is love and the Y to make everything better.  


The safety, quality, and socialization opportunities that members find at the Y can help them maintain and develop a sense of independence. Giving to the West Suburban YMCA secures our mission of healthy living at any age. Your generosity enables us to give financial support to those senior members who may need a little help getting in the door to meet us, meet their new friends, and meet their healthy living goals.