More than half of Americans are diagnosed or know a loved one who has been diagnosed with cancer. This diagnosis changes the lives of these survivors and their families and often means years of emotional, physical and mental stress. For these individuals, LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA can provide the community and physical training each survivor needs to heal in body, mind and spirit.
LIVESTRONG at the YMCA is a free research-based program that offers people affected by cancer a safe, supportive environment to participate in physical and social activities. The program runs 12 weeks and classes meet twice a week. Participants meet as a community and work with trainers to develop physical fitness plans.
The program focuses on holistic health rather than the cancer itself. By focusing on the whole person and not the disease, LIVESTRONG at the YMCA seeks to help people move beyond cancer in spirit, mind and body with these goals:
- Increase strength, cardiovascular endurance and flexibility
- Improve energy levels, which will enhance functional ability to do everyday tasks
- Reduce the severity of therapy side effects
- Develop an ongoing physical fitness program, not only as part of recovery but as a way of life
One of the program’s participants, Terri Miller, expressed how supported she felt during the LIVESTRONG program. “It gave me friends that I could talk to that would help me understand what I was going through mentally, physically, emotionally. I have a huge circle of love,” Miller said. “It showed me that there was more to life than just going to doctor’s appointments, sitting in my house. It gave me a reason to get up every day.”
Miller said the program offers a wonderful support group that motivates people to keep going. “If there was one thing I could say about the Livestrong program, every single person who has gone through cancer and gone through treatments needs to come through this program,” she said.
Community Memorial Health System (CMHS) in Ventura has partnered with the Ventura YMCA to help more people benefit from this incredible program. The YMCA could not be more grateful for each participant CMHS refers and the funding CMHS provides for the program. The majority of the YMCA’s LIVESTRONG participants come from CMHS referrals. Thanks to CMHS, LIVESTRONG at the Ventura YMCA can continue to be the largest LIVESTRONG program in California.
For more information about the LIVESTRONG program and CMHS, visit our LIVESTRONG page and check out CMHS’s blog. Also, if you haven’t already, watch our collaborative video with CMHS about how the LIVESTRONG program has impacted the lives of some of our past participants.