LiveSTRONG at the YMCA

Men and Women at the YMCA participating in the Livestrong cancer program

Cathy Owens was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2015; and in October of that same year, her husband, Jim, was diagnosed with tongue cancer. After both completed treatment, Cathy saw a flier for the YMCA’s LIVESTRONG program. The program was established in partnership with the LIVESTRONG Foundation to assist those who are living with, through or beyond cancer to strengthen their spirit, mind and body.

Those enrolling in the program need to have permission to do so from their doctor. When Cathy asked her doctor, her doctor immediately reached for her pen to sign off on it, already very much aware of the program’s health benefits.

The 12-week program includes cardiovascular conditioning, strength training, balance and flexibility exercises, as well as support sessions. Research from the Yale Cancer Center and Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Institutes confirmed that LIVESTRONG at that YMCA participants experience improved fitness and quality of life as well as significant decreases in cancer-related fatigue.

“What was good for me was learning all of the options that we have here at the Y,” Cathy explained. “I found out that there are a lot of things that I can do that are fun, and it’s not intense. It’s a gentle way of learning lots of options to stay healthy and get healthy again.”

For Jim and Cathy, that meant trying out TRX, weight lifting, yoga, Zumba and Pilates in a group setting. That varied exercise, coupled with working out with fellow cancer survivors, gave them something to look forward to every week.

“The thing I appreciated the most was sharing with other people who had cancer, particularly the women who have had breast cancer,” Cathy said.

“The camaraderie and intimacy of the group was very compelling and helpful,” shares Jim. The staff is very dedicated to wanting people to get better. They cared for us personally and created a very strong community that empowered us all to build our strength and well-being physically, emotionally and spiritually.”

The LIVESTRONG program is offered at both the West Chester Area YMCA and the Kennett Area YMCA.