How a YMCA helped a Ge­orge­town woman lose weight, get a new car

The State (Sunday) - - Local - BY TYLER FLEM­ING tflem­[email protected]­sun­news.com

The mo­ment was bit­ter­sweet as Rachael Pas­coe stood in the cold with­out a jacket Fri­day af­ter­noon out­side the Ge­orge­town YMCA. She was about to re­ceive a new car, some­thing she had been with­out for weeks fol­low­ing a tragic ac­ci­dent.

The sweet of the mo­ment came from acts of de­ter­mi­na­tion. Over the past year, the Y had be­come a place of com­fort for her. For the last year she had driven to the Y to work out on a mis­sion to lose weight, lots of it. Start­ing out in the pool due to not be­ing able to do work in the main gym she has lost hun­dreds of pounds while gain­ing a sup­port­ive com­mu­nity at the Ge­orge­town Y.

But the bit­ter is how she lost her car. Over the past month, get­ting to the Y has been a chal­lenge, both phys­i­cally and emo­tion­ally. Three weeks prior to Fri­day, Pas­coe’s boyfriend was in a fa­tal car ac­ci­dent while driv­ing her car north on S.C. 51 away from Ge­orge­town. The ve­hi­cle was to­taled, leav­ing Pas­coe, a mother of two daugh­ters, with­out a car.

The fam­ily had to rely on oth­ers or walk­ing to get to their des­ti­na­tions. One time Pas­coe didn’t want to be an in­con­ve­nience to the per­son driv­ing her to and from the Y, so she de­cided to walk, not want­ing to lose mo­men­tum.

“Other women here ask how I keep go­ing on,” Pas­coe said. “De­ter­mi­na­tion. I am de­ter­mined to get healthy for my kids.”

Rod­ney Long, who served on the YMCA metro board, was in­spired when hear­ing about Pas­coe’s story when she was cho­sen to speak about her Y ex­pe­ri­ence at a YMCA din­ner ear­lier in the year.

“Her story re-en­er­gized me about the Y and our mis­sion here,” he said.

When he heard Pas­coe was with­out a car, Long de­cided he was in a po­si­tion to do some­thing about it.

The Long fam­ily had a brown SUV since 2003 nick­named “the brown lunch bag.” Long and his kids had a goal to put 300,000 miles on the ve­hi­cle, pay­ing to keep it op­er­at­ing over the time they owned it. Long’s 12year-old son wanted to keep the car run­ning so that he could drive it when he turns 16.

But Long de­cided the fam­ily car was des­tined for a big­ger, more im­me­di­ate pur­pose — to help Pas­coe have safe trans­porta­tion and a good Christ­mas.

“I’m just thrilled to death to be in the po­si­tion to help some­body,” Long said. “It wasn’t so long ago that my fam­ily was in a pre­car­i­ous spot, and some folks helped us along the way.”

The YMCA Coastal Carolina CEO Ryan Fin­ney said the dis­play of kind­ness shows that YMCAS are more than just a place to work out. They’re a place for peo­ple to find a com­mu­nity and help if they need it.

Pas­coe’s daugh­ter Elaina, 10, was there when her mom was handed the key of the fam­ily’s new car. She was re­luc­tant to get in front of the cam­eras film­ing the ex­change, but she wanted to be there for the mo­ment her mom was given the car.

When asked by The Sun News what she thought about the new car, her an­swer was short.

“I’m ex­cited. I am tired of walk­ing.”

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