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LiveStrong at the YMCA Phuong Nguyen, Public Policy Intern

Posted by: KMRoycroft
May 15, 2017

87% of all cancers in the United States are diagnosed in people 50 years of age or older. Living with cancer can be lonely, weakening, and stressful.

Recognizing the needs of adults living with cancer, the LIVESTRONG Foundation partnered with YMCA’s in 2007 to create LIVESTRONG at YMCA’s. LIVESTRONG is an evidence- based program within participating YMCA’s that helps adult cancer survivors reclaim their health and wellbeing following a cancer diagnosis. The program aims to  guide individuals through safe physical activity, help them build supportive relationships, and reduce stress – leading to an improved quality of life.

Preparation for the program spans 6 months, and the YMCA joins a “learning cohort.” In the 6 month duration, YMCA’s focus on enhancing relationships in the oncology community, developing and delivering a physical activity program for cancer survivors, training program leaders, and tailoring the YMCA environment to the needs of program participants.

Once implemented, the program is open to any individual over the age of 18 who is living with or beyond cancer treatment.

Based on data collected between April 2016-June 2016, 211 YMCA’s nationwide offer this program. We have 3,092 certified instructors and have served 40,958 individuals. The program has been proven to help survivors meet or exceed the recommended amount of physical activity,  help survivors SIGNIFICANTLY INCREASE their cardiovascular endurance, improve cancer survivors’ overall quality of life and decrease their cancer-related fatigue.

A former participant, Michelle Lavitt shares her experience with LIVESTRONG at the time,

“I am halfway through the program now, and already I feel like a different person. I have the energy to make it through the day without napping. I can make it up a flight of stairs without stopping to rest. I can carry my daughter again… LIVESTRONG at the YMCA has made an incredible difference in my recovery from breast cancer. I can't thank you enough for offering it, and I hope you continue this program so that others can heal.”

In Massachusetts, the LIVESTRONG program is offered at the Athol Area YMCA in Athol, Cape Cod YMCA in West Barnstable, Hockomock YMCA in North Attleboro, Malden YMCA in Malden, Merrimack Valley YMCA in Lawrence, MetroWest YMCA in Framingham, Old Colony YMCA in Brockton, South Shore YMCA in Norwell, Tri-Community YMCA of Southbridge in Southbridge, West Suburban YMCA in Newton, YMCA of Attleboro in Attleboro, YMCA of Central Massachusetts in Worcester, YMCA of Greater Boston in Boston, YMCA of Greater Springfield in Springfield, YMCA of Greater Westfield in Westfield, YMCA of Metro North in Peabody, YMCA of the North Shore in Beverly, and YMCA of the Southcoast in New Bedford

©2014-2017 Massachusetts Alliance of YMCAs