Running for a Cause

My Y Story: Stephanie Faulkner

Stephanie Faulker

My Y Story: Stephanie Faulkner

By: Christopher O’Herren, a Champlain College student who is completing an internship with the Y. 

Everyone’s health is important. We at the YMCA believe in this firmly and try our best to incorporate it into our facilities and programs, from physical fitness through exercise and sport to a lively and welcoming community that supports one another. But what about those instances outside the YMCA’s direct line of care? Those who aren’t members but still need help. We here at the YMCA lead plenty of missions to help those in need, be they members or not, but sometimes there are also unexpected impacts that we may not always be aware of.

Take, for instance, Stephanie Anderka-Faulkner’s story. When Stephanie’s previous gym closed, she turned to the YMCA for exercise. But after getting some well-needed reps in a few of the programs the Y offers, she decides to give running a try. Perhaps she was inspired by all the people she would pass by jogging down the road and wanted to see what it was like. Or maybe she noted that the YMCA held classes for running and that gave her the idea. But when a family member asked her if she wanted to run a half marathon, she agreed and was ready to do what she needed to prepare for it.

The first thing she needed to do was set her goal. She decided on a half-marathon. Secondly, she needed to pick a time and place. This is where things get interesting. Marathons are often more than just races; they often support very important causes. She then partnered with a team of people running for the charity “Friends of Jack”. Along with a team of Rhode Island doctors, she will do the half-marathon in a Disney park to raise enough money to fund a scar management program. With it, it should greatly help those in need of assistance with burns and other scarring, especially children, who can’t rely on traditional painkillers during the treatments.

When Stephanie first started training, she was surprised to find that she was already fairly capable of running a mile, thanks to the classes she had taken beforehand. All the same, the start was still a bit rough. She tried to focus on the good she’d do at the marathon to motivate herself, and over time, she began to enjoy the “runners high” she’d get every time she ran. Whether on the treadmill or through Mines Falls Park, she always reminds herself, “All movement is good movement.”

The YMCA may offer its programs and services in hopes of directly impacting its members and the direct community they are a part of. But the thing about communities is that they weave far beyond what we see on the surface. The YMCA may not contribute directly to this charity service the same way we might with others, but Stephanie does. And if the YMCA helps contribute in any way to help that cause (even if that just means keeping a treadmill open for her), then each step she makes on it will be just as important as the last one that gets her across the finish line. So, we eagerly await Stephanie’s marathon this coming November and wish her well.


At the Y, we prioritize the health and well-being of our community. Our physical fitness programs and welcoming environment are just part of the impact we aim to have. We also understand the importance of reaching individuals beyond our immediate care. With your support, we can extend our reach to help those in need, like Stephanie, who found support for her training at the Y and used that motivation to create a positive impact in our community. Let’s continue making a difference together. 


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