Ask Mike Pelletier and wife Sharon why they have donated to the LIVESTRONG Program at the YMCA, and the long-time Southington residents answer is short and sweet.
“It was the best way we knew how to say thanks,” Pelletier said, according to a YMCA press release.
Mike retired in 2012, after 30 years of service with the State of Connecticut’s DOT. Six months later, a curveball was thrown his way. He was diagnosed with a rare form of Leukemia, called Chronic Myelomonocyctic Leukemia.
After eight months of chemotherapy, it was determined that a Stem Cell Transplant was the only option to perhaps prolong Mike’s life and, maybe even cure the leukemia, explained the press release.
Be The Match, the global leader in bone marrow transplants, identified a perfect match. The donor agreed to try and save Mike’s life by donating stem cells. Mike’s donor is a 20-year-old male from Germany, said the news release.
Mike’s stem cell transplant took place on Oct. 16, 2013 at the Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale. With the support of the Transplant Team, nurses, family, and friends, Mike is now in remission.
Once Mike was home recovering, a neighbor recommended Mike join the LIVESTRONG Program at the Southington’s Community YMCA, said the release. The LIVESTRONG Program helps Cancer survivors begin the journey toward recovery. This free 12-week program offers adults affected by cancer a safe, supportive environment to participate in physical and social activities focused on strengthening the whole person, said the release.
Mike said, the release reported, “This program has helped boost my self-esteem, improve my muscle strength, physical endurance, and balance. It’s a wonderful program that has made a huge impact in my recovery.”
On Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014, at The Southington Elks Club, family and friends held la benefit for Leukemia Awareness. Mike and Sharon were able to donate funds to Be The Match and the LIVESTRONG Program at the Southington YMCA.
Donna Ayers, community development director at the Southington Community YMCA said, according to the YMCA’s release, “We are so grateful for the generous donation from the Pelletiers on behalf of all their friends, family, and supporters. This donation will help our Y continue to offer the LIVESTRONG Program to other cancer survivors in our community free of charge. Their gift will help us continue to help cancer survivors gain back their strength, balance, agility, and endurance “.