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megan and kathy
October 7, 2022

“For all” is a simple but powerful phrase. Without it, the Y mission is incomplete. Our commitment to inclusion creates better communities, a better country, and a better world. Our "Stories of Diversity and Inclusion" series introduces our community to fellow members with a story to share.

We are always seeking stories that help us show how the Y makes a positive impact on individuals and families in our community. Share your story and inspire others!


When Kathy Clisham’s husband Mike was diagnosed with dementia in 2020, it was a shock to their whole family. As his illness progressed, Kathy took on his primary caregiving at home. However, as his condition worsened, she needed to find a place that could care for him. “As Mike got more disoriented and even confused, at times, I knew I had to find a place that would be better for him,” noted Kathy. But because of the erratic and often unpredictable manifestations of dementia, Kathy was challenged, and often disheartened, to find appropriate residential care for him. As Kathy persevered to find the right place for Mike, a retired 35-year Command Sgt. Major in the U.S. Army Reserves, she also knew she needed to care for herself.

“I saw an email advertising the Veterans Pathway Program at the YMCA,” Kathy said, “and I found out I could sign up as the wife of an army veteran.” 

Kathy enrolled in the YMCA Veterans Program, where she met leader and instructor Megan McCuen. “Megan has a way of working with seniors,” Kathy told us. “She is caring and compassionate, but also motivating!” As Mike’s dementia progressed, Kathy found respite and wellness in her weekly meetings and exercise sessions with Megan and their class.

“Being with other veterans and their families provided me strength and comfort. I needed to be around supportive people who understood a little what I was going through. Megan helped me feel comfortable in the classes and taught me a lot about nutrition.” 

Kathy took care of Mike at home until June 2021. Following nine months of residential care, he passed away in March 2022. 

“Losing your husband is one thing,” she said. “The way it went with Mike was another. Never knowing what was going to happen, or where he would live and be cared for was very difficult, until we finally found a facility in Warminster that would take him and help him.”

“Megan and the friends I made in the veterans group helped me and my family get through it.” 

Kathy is a member of YMCA of Bucks and Hunterdon Counties in Quakertown, PA, and continues to attend the Veterans Wellness Pathway classes.


Photo caption: Megan McCuen, Veterans Pathway leader and Kathy Clisham meet for class at Quakertown YMCA.