Meet Billy Tusitala

Billy TusitalaWill the real billy please stand up?

About a year ago, Billy Tusitala walked into the Y looking for a change. As a young teen growing up in San Diego, Billy wanted to be a part of something bigger. Unfortunately, that eagerness led him to a lifestyle of dangerous gang activity. At the age of 18, Billy was shot. Undeterred, he continued to make his way in a world of gang activity.

In 2004, Billy’s longtime struggle with the inflammatory disease ankylosing spondylitis (AS) left him unable to walk. Wheelchair bound and humbled, Billy carried on until life threw yet another punch — thyroid cancer. Billy was up for the fight, and after aggressive chemotherapy, he emerged cancer free.

When Billy made the choice to wheel through the doors of Copley-Price Family YMCA, he was embraced by members and staff who wanted to help him meet his goals. He found, at last, a healthy sense of belonging — a second home.

Consistent attendance in Chair Yoga and Hydro Healing classes brought significant gains in his mobility and strength. After several personal training sessions with Laura, and after more than 14 years of sitting, Billy is now able stand tall once again. While his journey to health and wellness continues, he has become an inspiration to our Y community.

What Is Your Y Story?

Our members have some great stories, and we want to share them with you! This page is devoted to sharing the interesting and inspiring life experiences of our members. We're sure there are many stories out there, so we hope you'll fill us in. And please consider the many ways you can join us in helping to make a positive impact in the community. Learn more about volunteering and getting involved with your Y.

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