Neil Jacobsen

When the pandemic hit, I was filled with anxiety, uncertainty and sadness, including the inability to be with friends and family and the loss of activities that were key parts of my social and wellness routines, including the Y.

I started walking early in the morning, in rain, wind, snow and sleet. It helped keep me sane and I drew increasing comfort from our neighbourhood (Morna and Belmont), the nature and natural beauty around me (including a pair of Mallard ducks that would seem to watch my progress every day), and the opportunity to connect (at a distance) with neighbours I did not know.  It was also a blessing to have the Irving Nature Park open up again, along with Rockwood Park.

In support of the Y’s 5 km QuaRUNtine fundraiser, I have logged a cumulative total of 212 km and counting.

In addition to supporting the Y family, I have benefited both physically and mentally from walking and hiking for the Y.  I have lost over 15 pounds and I don’t know how I would’ve coped mentally without my daily walks or hikes. I look forward to getting back to the Y, especially the pool.

I have also decided that, in the spirit of Forest Gump, I will continue to “Walk for the YMCA” until the pandemic is over, and will continue to donate $2 per km to support the great work of the Y and Strong Communities. I will check in again in December with my total km and another year-end donation.

So far I have donated $424.00 in support of Strong Communities.

As a community, we also owe a debt of gratitude to the City of Saint John and the Irving family for their on-going support of the wonderful places we have to walk, hike and exercise, including the YMCA of Greater Saint John, the new Fieldhouse, the Irving Nature Park and Rockwood Park.