Throughout my years working with the YMCA, I have had the privilege of sharing impactful stories of people and their experiences that have touched their lives and the lives of others. I have done this in hope of inspiring people to embrace each day to the fullest. To never forget that we do not always know how or when we may be affecting someone with our behaviours and words. In our day to day experiences, it is very easy to let the importance of what we do each day slip by. With each story I tell, I feel the presences of those I speak about and the emotions which they brought to me. I share to bring those who have impacted me to others.
It was when I was sitting with a beautiful young lady by the name of Lindsay that I realized the true importance of sharing what we experience. Lindsay came to tell me that she finally realized she was going to die and asked me if I would share her story with others by writing a Y story about her. This truly inspiring woman wanted to continue to reach the lives of others in her absence. I do not think Lindsay realized just how important that request was or how many lives she touched and inspired. It is my honour and pleasure to share the Y Story of Lindsay Beech.
An inspirational person is someone that exhibits qualities that people are drawn to. It is someone that motivates us to be strong in body, mind and spirit. Someone that makes us feel good and want to convey that feeling to others. That is what Lindsay Beech was to the Wasaga Beach YMCA. Lindsay and her family became members of the Wasaga Beach YMCA in 2012 after she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Her motivation was to continue to be as healthy as she could be as she went through the difficult treatments and surgeries she was faced with. It did not take long for Lindsay to become part of the Y family. She came to the centre for her daily workouts with an air of passion that was unmistakable. Never did she try to disguise or hide the fact that she was living with cancer. Lindsay wore her challenge with dignity and pride. To see Lindsay working out, there was no denying that her inspiration was contagious.
Time and time again other members and guests would want to share in her passion. “If Lindsay can do it, so can I” became a motto of those she inspired. To know of her struggle and see firsthand the dedication to herself and her family would cause anyone to strive for the best in themselves. This was one of her true gifts to us. She had an ability to touch a life and make it better by helping us realize that no matter what our circumstance, we too can live with a passion for life.
But Lindsay is memorable for so many reasons; her contagious laugh, her strong spirit, her passion for life, her bright smile. One of the things that always made me smile was, of all things, Lindsay’s YMCA membership card. Her family is the very first I have every encountered with bedazzled membership
cards. The bright gems matched the twinkle in her eye. It is a simple yet poignant reminder of her shining light. She sparkled from head to toe and shone for all to see.
There were many times that Lindsay and I spoke about her cancer. With each new development, both good and not so good, we were able to have open and honest conversations. I remember the day she was getting ready for her follow up appointment after she had experienced a seizure during one of her workouts. That day we were both in the change room getting ready for our days. She was dressing in a beautiful flowery dress with one of her signature sparkly headbands. As always, I told her she was beautiful and so very sparkly. Her smile filled me for the day.
It was just a few short days after that we were back in the change room once again getting ready for our days that she told me the appointment did not go as well as she had hoped. We had a good cry giggling at the same time because we were both dressed in nothing but towels making a hug somewhat awkward. Things progressed quickly from there. Lindsay needed to begin another round of treatment. The call came in to reach out for help for her young children who simply needed somewhere to be during the day as summer had begun and school was out. The tumour that had developed on her brain began to grow impairing her mobility and speech. It was a quiet joy we all shared seeing Lindsay’s children at day camp that summer. Knowing what they were facing and watching them still interact and enjoy their day at the Y. Their mother’s strength shone in them.
When the time finally came not long after for Lindsay to move on to her next journey, we were all saddened and in disbelief that she was actually gone. Lindsay would not be coming in for her work out. I would not hear that contagious laughter that had so often brightened my day. I immediately missed her smile and was so thankful that her beautiful smile had been captured in so many photos.
Lindsay will always be a part of the Wasaga Beach YMCA family. Her spirit moves us each day. I am truly thankful for knowing Lindsay. My hope is that her inspiration will carry on in the people she touched. That her inspiration will continue to blossom and that each day it will help someone grow stronger in body, mind and spirit. Thank you for your gift Lindsay.
Wasaga Beach YMCA