Being out on the bocce court at the Madison Area YMCA’s annual charity bocce tournament this fall had a special significance for Jim Patterson. The tournament, which raises funds for the Y’s paths to wellness programming, includes LIVESTRONG at the YMCA. Jim knows LIVESTRONG well. “Beautiful Beth” as Jim describes his late wife and best friend of 35 years and mother of their 16-year-old daughter Janie, who has Down syndrome, was a graduate of the December 2016 LIVESTRONG at the YMCA class. Beth had bravely battled ovarian cancer twice over two years, for the last time this past summer.
“Beth enjoyed her LIVESTRONG experience,” says Jim. “It gave back her energy, strength, balance and hope. Most importantly, it gave us more quality time with Beth and allowed her to have a ‘bucket list’ dream ski vacation with me, Janie and friends. Beth skied circles around me! That certainly made her proud,” he reminisces.
Jim points out how everyone at the Y, whether they were staff members or Y members, just embraced his daughter from the start. The bocce team, Great Balls of Fire, also made Janie an honorary captain. “We are so happy to be part of the Y community,” says Jim. “The Y staff always knew what to say to Janie to make her feel better about her mom.”
To show his gratitude to the Y, Jim plans to share Beth’s story at the banquet next week that closes the 17th annual bocce tournament. “I have to make sure I deliver the message that Beth would want,” says Jim, noting Beth’s eloquence and gift for writing.
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