I’m a Y kid. I was a Y baby in fact learning how to swim. I remember playing softball for the Y, a sport I had no experience with, and realizing I could crack it between 2nd and 3rd but on the flip side if I was playing shortstop not a whole lot was going to get past me. But I lived for Y basketball. My school was within walking distance of the Downtown Y and I could go and shoot baskets for hours and maybe get picked up in a game. I loved the sound of the ball bouncing off the goal, the squeak of shoes on the floor, and the smell of a 100 years of sweat. And I was welcomed there. I was expected.
I’ve stayed a part of the Y my whole life working in the after school program in college and then off course sending my kids through swim lessons and soccer. My running group is spurred off relationships from the Y. I’m still expected to be at YMCA a good portion of my week. If I haven’t been there in a while they tell me they miss me. I’ve recently become even more involved by joining the Board of Advisors. And it’s there that I learned about the Livestrong program for cancer survivors.
The goal of the program is simple: Help cancer survivors build muscle strength, increase endurance, improve functional ability and reduce the side effects of treatment, said Kristi Bradley, personal trainer and LIVESTRONG at the Y coordinator.
LIVESTRONG defines a cancer survivor as a person diagnosed with cancer, meaning they become a survivor the minute they are diagnosed.
LIVESTRONG at the Y accepts any cancer survivors with a release from their physician. After that, the participant goes through an intake interview, where Bradley assesses where they are in their cancer treatment and what fitness goals they have. She also takes into account the types of medications a survivor is taking or what side effects the medications may cause.
“Everyone participates at their own level,” she said, adding that during cancer treatment, many survivors struggle to get out of bed, much less exercise.
Many participants have not been part of a fitness program, plus they have different exercise needs than the general population may have, she said. Bradley takes them on a journey, teaching them not just how to use weight equipment and cardio machines, but how to build a program that they can sustain for the long term.
This speaks to my heart. I hate cancer. Like really hate it and hate even more how I feel like a ticking time bomb. I recently got to be an observer of the latest class of Livestrong participants Celebration Dinner. I was so lifted by their spirits, their laughter, and their energy which in part came from the healthy lifestyles they gained from activity at the Y. Free of charge. Scholarships provided this incredibly positive outlet for these fighters.
SO my focus for Sprint for a Cause is to raise $1000 for the O’Fallon YMCA LIvestrong Program. I hope you will help me reach my goal by donating $10 $20, or $100.