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It has been 18 years since Darren first learned he had Multiple Sclerosis.

Since it is a disease that attacks the central nervous system, much of the structure and routine of Darren’s life vanished after his diagnosis. Despite the challenges of living with MS, Darren lives each day with infectious passion and purpose.

But the road to achieving his positive attitude and outlook took courage and determination. He battled with depression and suffered great personal losses following his diagnosis. However, Darren came out from these dark moments with a redefined look on life.

“Being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis was the best thing that ever happened to me because it taught me how to live,” shared Darren.

Today, Darren is a testament to positive thinking and advocacy. From 2005-2008, he rode across the United States to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis research. Now, he spends his days tackling personal goals, such as visiting every national park and all 50 states, the latter a goal he reached recently.

In 2017, Darren decided to join the Y.

Motivated to maintain his current strength, Darren remembered his moments at the Y as a kid and decided to become a member once again. The Y has offered Darren a place with the equipment and environment he needed to focus on his health. Since joining, Darren has formed friendships with members and staff alike.

“I’ve seen Darren grow here at the Y and I can personally see his progress in reaching his goals,” shared Raheem Odomes, the Redlands YMCA Membership Director. “More than that, I think Darren gives to the Y as much as he gets. He is always sharing insight and inspiration; he wants everyone to know that you can overcome any obstacle with a smile on your face.”

Darren’s exceptional journey and attitude help other members struggling to find that ray of positivity. Darren’s journey is made possible through the Y’s Financial Assistance program. With MS, it is crucial to maintain strength and the Y has given Darren the opportunity to stay strong.

“I hope that members at the Y can look at me and feel inspired to rise above their challenges.”

Support members like Darren

1 in 4 of our members receive Financial Assistance

The YMCA provides Financial Assistance so that we can eliminate the financial barriers that keep families and individuals from wellness resources and a community of support. When you donate to the YMCA of the East Valley, 100% of those donations go straight into our Financial Assistance program so we can serve more in our community.