Workout Wednesday: Mimi’s Story


A Baton Rouge woman said if it wasn’t for the YMCA she may not be alive today and a passion for fitness has given her the best gift all, life.

Mimi Barnum Riche grew up attending the YMCA. 

“I swam my 1st mile in the pool here.”

For her exercise was just a regular part of life. It wasn’t until after retirement when she noticed things started to change. 

 “When I was working, and I loved my job and you know it’s a lot about relationships, and I missed that when I retired,” Riche said.

During this sensitive transition she turned to the YMCA.

“So I started coming to this 9 o’clock class and they’re really like my peeps. You know, their my new colleagues,” Riche said. 

She was finally finding herself again when an unexpected turn of events happened.

“The Y offered a program, called life screening I believe. The idea behind it is they use ultrasound to determine whether or not you have a precondition for stroke. And the technician kept doing the ultrasound on my neck. Come to find out I had malignant nodules in my thyroid. I call it a God thing because, to me, I would never have known to check my thyroid until probably it was too late.”

Once again Riche turned to the YMCA for support. 

“Immediately I was back here, you know after surgery, and working out to help me regain my strength. And I come here almost every day.”

Now at age 72 and 5 years cancer free Riche continues to find joy in exercise. 

“It’s so much more than just exercise. It’s part of my spiritual journey and that to me is every bit if not more important than my exercise journey.”

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