UNION — Surviving cancer is one of the greatest challenges a person can face in life and a program offered at the Union County YMCA recently helped some cancer survivors deal with the aftermath of their battle with the disease.
On Tuesday, Jan. 9, the LiveStrong Program at the YMCA held a graduation ceremony and lunch for the cancer survivors who completed the 12-week program which seeks to get cancer survivors back on their feet.
LiveStrong is a national program that through an “ongoing dialogue with cancer survivors” conducted “through our survey and research” discovered that “a top concern among survivors was the difficulty of returning to physical activity after treatment.”
In response to this, LiveStrong partnered with the YMCA of the USA in 2007 to create the 12-week LiveStrong Program which is offered through community YMCAs including the Union County YMCA.
Through the LiveStrong Program, cancer survivors “participate in free or low cost customized exercise regimens catered to their individual needs from certified fitness instructors. The instructors are trained in cancer survivorship, post-rehabilitation exercise and supportive cancer care. Survivors and often their families receive a membership at the YMCA for the duration of the program.”
Participation in the program has benefited cancer survivors according to a research study conducted by LiveStrong in cooperation with Yale University and the Dana Faber Cancer Institute. The study, which examined “the impact of the program on participants’ cancer-related outcomes, found that participants experienced significant increases in physical activity, overall quality of life and fitness performance as well as decreases in cancer-related fatigue.”
This was also the case at the Union YMCA where, at the time of the graduation ceremony and lunch, then-CEO Scott Sandor said that “everyone in the class saw some form of growth in using the equipment from what they originally thought they could do.”
Sandor, who left the Union County YMCA shortly after the graduation to become the CEO of the Newberry YMCA, said that just as important as the exercise offered through the LiveStrong Program was getting to know all the participants and building good relationships with each one. Sandor said he enjoyed working with each one of the participants and that he hopes they will will each continue to work out after the program is over by continuing to put exercise in their daily lives.
As for the future of LiveStrong itself, Union County YMCA CEO April Hall said Monday that plans are for the program to continue.
“We do plan to offer that program again,” Hall said. “It was very successful so we will be offering it again and when we get ready to we do so we will let the community know.”
For more information about the Union County YMCA and the programs it offers call 864-427-0668.