Y starting program for adult cancer survivors

Published 9:52 am Thursday, February 2, 2017

Rebuild your strength and spirit. Live strong.

The Davie Family YMCA is conducting a 12-week, small group program designed for adult cancer survivors called LIVESTRONG. It starts on March 6 at 6 p.m., and meets twice a week – Mondays and Thursdays from 6-7:30 p.m.

Participants receive a free 12-week family membership to the Y.

“Our goal is to help participants improve energy levels and self esteem, build strength, increase flexibility and endurance and improve ability to perform everyday tasks,” said Luke Harris, Davie Y’s senior engagement director.

The criteria to participate: ask your doctor to complete the LIVESTRONG at the YMCA referral form. Consult your oncologist or a hospital onconlogy specialist before joining; enroll by phone, email or visiting the Y; and commit to attending 80 percent of the classes.

Darrell Van took the class as a cancer survivor in Davie in 2013, and is pleased with the results. Following is a question and answer session with Van.

How large was the group?

It was a small group of about a dozen participants along with some spouses, each of course, having endured unique circumstances. This made me quickly realize that I only thought that I had been through a lot in the hospital. I didn’t know how blessed I was until I heard some of the others’ stories.

Did you enjoy the fellowship with group members?

Absolutely. A bond formed within the team pretty quickly. We encouraged each other, and our spouses, to keep showing up, while Joy showed us how exercising could be fun and spontaneous.

Which exercise training did you enjoy the most?

I was most intrigued by some of the balance work. I could not believe how much my balance had faded over the years. Also, I was surprised that I could do more than I realized, without hurting.

Which exercise training do you continue to use?

Cardio and strength building with weight machines.

What part of meeting with the nutritionist did you get the most out of? Do you apply the knowledge, use the recipes …?

I missed the nutrition session, unfortunately, but have made kale chips that Joy instructed us on.

Do you still have contact with anyone from the group?

Yes, we met a couple about the same age as my wife and I. We sometimes see them at the Y and email to stay in contact. An I remain in touch with Joy, our personal trainer, to help support the LIVESTRONG when I can.

Was having the free 12-week Y membership helpful to you and your family?

Very helpful. I probably would not have pursued otherwise. I’m not one who loves to workout everyday, but Joy helped me understand the importance of taking care of myself. My wife and I have since done a pretty good job of pushing each other to get to the Y on a regular basis.

Did you join the Y after having that free 12-week membership?

We did join the Y and are members today.

Do you feel stronger in body, mind and spirit after being part of the LIVESTRONG program at the Davie Family YMCA?

Yes, I felt like my wife and I got a lot out of the LIVESTRONG participation. Not only was it good physically, but mentally and spiritually. I do miss the one-on-one training Joy provided but learned that it’s up to me to carry the torch going forward. She was a real blessing at that point in my life and we learned a lot from her and her beautiful family, who all work out too. It’s never too late or too early to get moving.

What else would you like to share with other cancer survivors who may read this to encourage them to participate in the LIVESTRONG program?

LIVESTRONG is a special opportunity that cancer survivors should not miss. It’s all about you. It’s free with no hidden agenda. It’s supported by amazing folks at the YMCA  who simply want to help you renourish the body and soul. It’s your community giving back. After all the fight to become cancer free, you deserve some me time. Showing up is 80 percent of the battle. You exercise at your own pace and can’t lose. I highly recommend all cancer survivors and spouses to take advantage of LIVESTRONG at the YMCA. You will love the people and the program. Thank you to the fundraisers at the Y who make this program possible and thank you to Joy, who has a huge heart.