YMCA Member Hope Heiser has been dancing with the Chicago Bulls Swingin’ Seniors for four seasons. Like the Luvabulls, the Swingin’ Seniors appear at Bulls home games and perform during intermissions. But unlike their counterparts, all Swingin’ Seniors are at least 60-years-old. A recent Facebook video shows Hope—wearing number 66, her age when the season started—front and center on the United Center floor, dancing to a mix of Whitney Houston, Cardi B and Big Sean.
“I would’ve never been able to perform our dance routines or keep up with the team’s practice schedule if I had not gotten involved in some structured exercise programs,” Hope says of her time with the Swingin’ Seniors. “I owe it to the Y.”
Hope survived a bout with breast cancer in 2008 and underwent surgery to repair two joints in her foot in 2009. She made a full recovery but found herself more inactive than ever. She credits the Y with helping her get back into shape.
Today, she is an active member of the C.W. Avery Family YMCA in Plainfield, where she regularly attends classes like Pumped Up, Cardio Interval and Pound, just to name a few. Since joining in 2013, she has lost 40 pounds.
“When I walk into the Y, I feel like I’m part of a family. Everyone is extremely welcoming,” Hope says. “I’m often the oldest one in the classes I take, but I get so much encouragement from my fellow members. The instructors show us how to modify the moves and take great care in making sure everyone feels comfortable during class.”
Hope’s affinity for the Y extends down into her immediate family as well. She says her grandchildren have enjoyed a number of Y programs, from swim lessons to sports camps.
Hope and the Swingin’ Seniors perform at Bulls games between 12 and 15 times each year. Look out for them during your next trip to the United Center!
Everyone has a Y story, a way in which the YMCA has impacted your life. Believe it or not, your story has the power to inspire hundreds—if not thousands—of members to follow in your footsteps. To submit a Y story of your own, click here.