Cancer is a life-changing disease that takes a tremendous physical and emotional toll on those affected. The Y and the LIVESTRONG Foundation have joined together to create LIVESTRONG at the YMCA, a 12-week exercise program offered at no cost to help survivors improve their strength and physical fitness, diminish the severity of therapy side effects, develop supportive relationships and improve their quality of life.
Participants work with Y staff trained in supportive cancer care to safely achieve their goals such as building muscle mass and strength; increasing flexibility and endurance; and improving confidence and self-esteem. By focusing on the whole person and not the disease, LIVESTRONG at the YMCA is helping people move beyond cancer in spirit, mind and body.
In recognition of the success of the LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program for cancer survivors, the Willamette Valley Cancer Institute has generously donated $25,000 to relaunch the program and ensure its viability in the future. LIVESTRONG at the YMCA is a research-based physical activity and well-being program designed to help adult cancer survivors achieve their holistic health goals.
“This generous donation could not have come at a better time,” said LIVESTRONG Program Coordinator Colleen Hogan. “When COVID-19 shuttered the Eugene Y, cancer patients lost access to a program proven to improve fitness and quality of life, decrease cancer-related fatigue and mitigate anxiety and depression. Isolation and loneliness have only gotten worse during COVID-19, while cancer diagnoses have continued to occur.”
The Willamette Valley Cancer Institute has 24 oncology specialists on staff and operates in Eugene, Florence, Corvallis and Lincoln City. It is affiliated with the US Oncology Network, one of the largest cancer treatment and research networks in the country.
“Our oncologists refer patients to the LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program regularly because they trust the Y and know that exercise, community support and socialization leads to positive health outcomes,” said Steve Baron, Executive Director of the Willamette Valley Cancer Institute. “We are thrilled to ensure the relaunch of this invaluable program and its sustainability into the future.”
The LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program carries a waitlist of as many as 40 people. The group remains small due to facility space restrictions—a total of 12 people for each 12-week session to offer individualized attention based on specific cancer-related conditions and to allow the group to develop the relationships necessary to combat depression and anxiety.
We know that staying active and reducing stress is sometimes easier said than done when you’ve been diagnosed with cancer. Whether you are on our LIVESTRONG at the YMCA waitlist, immunocompromised or struggling to balance work and family life, our new RECLAIM: Cancer Exercise Video Series is here for you to use from the comfort and safety of your own home, on your own schedule. These videos draw from our specially trained instructors' experience working with survivors over the last five years and include proven post-treatment exercise and self-care content.
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Sally Cummings, Program Coordinator LIVESTRONG at the YMCA