‘LIVESTRONG at the YMCA’ program continues with with $16,600 grant from Highmark Foundation

Lori Peterson and Connie Zaffino, two past participants of LIVESTRONG at the Y program.

The Warren County YMCA has been awarded a $16,600 grant from the Highmark Foundation to support its “LIVESTRONG at the YMCA” program.

Through the grant, the Warren Y will provide 12 weeks of free health and wellness classes to help adult cancer survivors build muscle mass and strength, increase flexibility and endurance and improve confidence and self-esteem in a supportive community.

“The LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program has clearly been able to transform both the lifestyle and outlook of so many people that have courageously faced cancer,” said Warren County YMCA CEO Thad Turner. “Together with their families and the YMCA staff, they gather knowledge and strength. It is the essence of caring, kindness and being a neighbor.”

Many times after cancer, people are left with a feeling of what to do next. Their lives have been about doctors’ visits, hospital stays and rehab. LIVESTRONG at the Y assists Warren County cancer survivors in finding a new routine to replace the old one. This routine is about spending time on themselves to make their health a priority. The program also includes the family member or friend that supported them through difficult times. It’s a way to celebrate together a new way to live healthy and happy with new resources.

The 12-week program enables 12 survivors to learn from certified instructors who have been trained in cancer recovery exercises. The instructors help individuals who may have new limitations to become stronger and adapt to any changes. Participants also have the opportunity to stand with other cancer survivors and share stories, fears and successes. These groups bond and stay connected long after LIVESTRONG at the Y is over. They become new friends who look after each other, check on each other and help each other.

“We are proud to support the Warren County YMCA through this grant to help improve the overall quality of life of adult cancer survivors,” said Highmark Foundation President Yvonne Cook. “It can be challenging for cancer survivors to regain their physical fitness following treatment, but programs like LIVESTRONG at the YMCA make it easier by providing a safe, supportive environment for survivors to reclaim their health and well-being. This grant is an excellent example of how the Highmark Foundation works with local organizations to fund evidence-based models with potential replication. LIVESTRONG at the Y can make a positive impact on community health by ensuring access to quality preventive health services.”

“Warren County is very fortunate to have this program in a rural community like ours,” added Turner. “Contributions to the program from foundations like the Highmark Foundation tell us that this is a worthy program, and that we should continue our program for cancer survivors.”

The program has created a new community in Warren County for cancer survivors and their families that never existed before. In Pennsylvania, there are only 13 LIVESTRONG at the Y programs out of 550 in the nation.

The next LIVESTRONG at the Y evening program will begin in February 7, 2017, and in March 2017 for the daytime class. If you are a cancer survivor and would like to participate in the program, contact the Warren County YMCA at (814) 726-0110 for an intake interview with Chris Dolan.

You can also send an email to chris@warrenymca.org.