The YMCA of Western North Carolina and the WNC Bridge Foundation are partnering on a one-year grant to support and promote the health and well-being of the residents of McDowell County.

The $150,148 grant from the WNC Bridge Foundation will help ensure that local families have access to the Y’s evidence-based programs that address chronic conditions such as diabetes, prediabetes, cancer, arthritis, poor balance, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and dementia, according to a news release.

The grant enables the Corpening Memorial YMCA to offer these health intervention programs to McDowell County residents for just $5 each. There is no charge for the cancer survivorship program.

“On behalf of the citizens of McDowell County, the Y is deeply grateful to the WNC Bridge Foundation for this funding,” said Toby Bramblett, executive director of the Corpening Memorial YMCA. “This grant means we can offer programing in conjunction with grassroots education and community health screenings to identify those in the community who would benefit most.”

Western North Carolina is struggling with an obesity and health crisis that is leading our population toward serious chronic health issues such as diabetes. According to the 2018 McDowell County Community Health Assessment, 69.3% of McDowell County residents are overweight or obese. More than 20% of adults living in McDowell County are diagnosed with diabetes, a staggering increase of 12 percentage points in just three years.

Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the community. With the rates of diabetes diagnoses on the rise, the projected health consequences and healthcare costs are of great concern.

In addition to diabetes, the McDowell County Community Health Assessment also highlights an increase in cancer and arthritis diagnoses, as well as a rapidly aging population that is at risk for falls.

“The YMCA has recognized that the ability to provide programs serving these distinct health challenges is more critical than ever,” Bramblett said. “The WNC Bridge Foundation’s partnership will help us meet those challenges head on.”

Enrollment for these programs opens Feb. 1 for classes starting in March, according to the news release.

WNC Bridge Foundation is a community-based charity providing direct support to individuals and grants to carefully selected non-profits throughout the region who are working every day to eliminate the barriers in our communities that prevent our neighbors from reaching their full potential. Their goal is to be a catalyst for positive change throughout the 18 counties of western North Carolina initially focusing on the areas of emergency wellness, elder care, and youth development.

The nonprofit YMCA of Western North Carolina strengthens local communities through youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. Founded in 1889, the YMCA of WNC engages more than 100,000 people — regardless of age, income, or background — to empower young people to reach their full potential, improve individual and community well-being, and give back and inspire action in the community. It does this through eight YMCAs, dozens of program sites, and YMCA Camp Watia. As the state’s largest provider of licensed school-age child care, it gives more than 1,000 children a day the opportunity to learn, grow, and thrive. For more information, please visit

For more information or to register, please call the Corpening Memorial YMCA at 828-659-9622. To learn more about the YMCA of Western North Carolina’s Community Health programs, visit

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.