WARSAW — The Kosciusko Community YMCA became a provider of the nationally recognized LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program last February thanks to an implementation grant from YMCA of the USA, the Y’s national resource office, in partnership with the LIVESTRONG® Foundation. Locally, the K21 Health Foundation also provided a $35,000 grant to start the program. Launched in early 2016, the 12-week physical activity and wellbeing initiative helps people affected by cancer reach their holistic health goals. Additionally, programs like LIVESTRONG at the YMCA are part of the Y’s overall commitment to help cancer survivors recover in a safe and supportive environment. New funding from the K21 Health Foundation and the Kosciusko County Cancer Care Fund will continue these efforts and offer the program free of charge to survivors again in 2017.
Michelle B., one LIVESTRONG at the YMCA graduate says, “What this program has done for me is to help build endurance, strength, and stamina. LIVESTRONG at the YMCA has given me a happier spirit. I would recommend this program to anyone that is going through cancer, or has had cancer. It is a life changer!”
LIVESTRONG at the YMCA is an evidence-based program built on best practices for cancer survivor exercise. The goals of the program are to empower adult cancer survivors to improve functional capacity and to increase their quality of life through an organized program of fitness and strength offered in a supportive, small-group setting. The Kosciusko Community YMCA was able to offer 6 of these classes in 2016 and has helped 43 people improve endurance, strength, stamina, courage and morale and move beyond cancer.
Another participant, Michele P says, “I worried that cancer would keep me from doing all the active things I loved. LIVESTRONG at the YMCA helped me realize cancer doesn’t get to make that decision. I joined in the middle of my cancer treatment. The class helped me remember my life was much more than a cancer diagnosis. While I certainly could have made the effort to exercise on my own, this program provided encouragement, support and guided instruction at a time when I truly needed it. Our coaches, the Y staff, and my fellow classmates were a wonderful encouragement. Being able to compare notes with other cancer patients about their experiences was an added bonus as I dealt with side effects of treatment.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 14 million people in the U.S. today are cancer survivors – those living with, through and beyond a cancer diagnosis. Historically, health care providers instructed cancer patients to rest and avoid activity or exertion, but studies now demonstrate the importance of physical activity for cancer survivors.
In addition, the YMCA is offering an encouraging and resourceful support group for cancer survivors and their families/caregivers led by a graduate of the LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program. The support group will meet on the second Monday of each month in the Parkview Center for Healthy Living. The Support Group is free to anyone that would like to come.
LIVESTRONG at the YMCA is made possible by a cooperative agreement between Y-USA and the LIVESTRONG® Foundation, which seeks to inspire and empower people affected by cancer. Launched in 2008, LIVESTRONG at the YMCA is designed to improve the health and day-to-day quality of life for the country’s growing population of cancer survivors and their families. To date, more than 30,000 cancer survivors have participated in the program nationwide.