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YMCA Helps Cancer Survivors Reach their Holistic Health Goals

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

 

The Greendale Family Branch of the YMCA of Central Massachusetts, located at 75 Shore Drive, Worcester, MA is one of 86 YMCA facilities in the nation that offers LIVESTRONG at the YMCA. This program is a physical activity and well-being initiative that helps people affected by cancer reach their holistic health goals.
The LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program is available to cancer survivors in the Central Massachusetts community at no cost, and helps improve the quality of life for adult cancer survivors and their families.

The YMCA and the Lance Armstrong Foundation are natural partners.

“Research shows exercise is the simplest way for cancer survivors to reduce fatigue, improve their mood and bounce back from the debilitating effects of cancer treatment more quickly,” said Andy Miller, LIVESTRONG Executive Vice President. “But there weren’t enough programs to help people affected by cancer reach their health and well-being goals, so LIVESTRONG and the Y joined forces to create LIVESTRONG at the YMCA. The Y is the perfect collaborator because of its national reach, commitment to meeting the needs of all community members and history of program innovation in support of health and wellness.”

As part of LIVESTRONG at the YMCA, the Y engages cancer survivors through an approach that focuses on the whole person. Participants work with trained Y staff to build muscle mass and strength, increase flexibility and endurance, and improve functional ability. In addition to physical benefits, the program is also focused on the emotional well-being of survivors and their families by providing a supportive community environment where people affected by cancer can connect during treatment and beyond. Participants have 75 minute class twice a week, but also are invited to use the Y facility as often as they like for free over the 12 week session. They can also be part of group discussions and support sessions.

By offering the program at no cost to cancer survivors, the Y hopes this is a positive opportunity for families likely facing heavy financial burdens due to medical bills. The program is designed for 12 participants each session. If the demand exceeds 12 per session, survivors will be signed up for the next program session. To date, 100% of the program graduates are volunteering to help current and future program participants by mentoring, performing intakes, speaking to groups, fundraising, etc.

It is truly an honor to offer the LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA program at our Y. As the Health Innovation Director for the YMCA of Central Massachusetts - working with the cancer survivors has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my 20 plus year professional career. Our goal is to start a new group each month and impact as many cancer survivors as we can.

Michael Robinson is a husband, father of two and a caregiver for a new infant. He is also a pancreatic cancer survivor. Mike recently accomplished the 12 week LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA program and has seen great improvement. Mike improved on each of his eight assessments. Mike says, “…I needed to do something for me, enter LIVESTRONG! This program is about doing what I want to do! Show up, work out, talk with people who have similar stories and work with instructors who truly care. I have a new motivation. I get off the couch or out of bed and feel like I am living again.”

LIVESTRONG at the YMCA is part of a multi-year collaboration between YMCA of the USA,
the national resource office for the Y, and the Lance Armstrong Foundation, the organization created in 1997 by the cancer survivor and champion cyclist to serve people living with cancer and empower communities to take action. The foundation is now known publicly by its powerful brand -- LIVESTRONG -- and is a leader in the global movement on behalf of 28 million people around the world living with cancer today. LIVESTRONG at the YMCA, launched in 2008, 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, approximately 6,000 cancer survivors have participated in the program nationwide.

We are excited to collaborate with LIVESTRONG to offer those who have been diagnosed with cancer the support they need to build both emotional and physical strength. With a mission centered on balance, the Y strives to be a leading voice on health and well-being for our community by providing resources and guidance so that all people, no matter what their circumstance, can achieve greater health and well-being in spirit, mind and body. Further, the Y seeks to be the leader in support programs designed to positively impact the effects of chronic disease by working with the Dept. of Public Health, medical community, community health centers, educational institutions and other community based organizations.

 Trevor Williams is the  Health Innovations Director for the YMCA of Central Massachusetts. For more information contact Trevor Williams at the Greendale Family Branch YMCA at
508.852.6694 x 226 or online at twilliams@ymcaofcm.org.

 

 

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