The Warren YMCA graduated the first 2014 group of "Livestrong at the Y" participants recently. The program began in 2013 from a grant written by Kim Slocum at the request of Chris Dolan, health and fitness director of the Y.
"Dolan's dream was to be a bigger part of helping people heal and she discovered the Livestrong Foundation Grant and presented it to me," Slocum said, "and said 'I want to do this.' Which began our pilot group and now our official program."
Many participants spoke at the graduation ceremony about their experience and asked the Y to please continue the program as they see it as a great asset to those who are ending cancer care and trying to return to a life and new experiences in being a cancer survivor.
2014 Livestrong graduates, instructors and support, from left, Chris Dolan and Jody Gardner, Livestrong certified fitness instructor, in front; Jill Jackson, Dewey Mayes, Jerry Bowersox, seated; Mary Massa, Janice Moore, Jeanne Lobdell, Betsy Bowersox, Joanna Mayes (support), third row; and Bill Mass (support), Jennifer Goerlich (member engagement coordinator), Linda Davis, Angie Hoffman and Kay McKinney in back.
Jeanne Lobdell and Jennifer Goerlich enjoy drumming as fun and bonding experience
Livestrong participant Janice Moore read an excerpt from her daily journaling of the program. Mary Massa with her support, husband Bill, at her side spoke of the reward of being a part of the program, and thanked the Y and staff. Bill also commented on his role as the support person and what a unique experience it was to meet all these people who had a similar journey and could share.
Jennifer Goerlich schedules group activities. "We are finding that each Livestrong at the Y group develops a unique quality as they continue to meet weekly," Goerlich said. "This group's unique quality is one of new beginnings. They came in apprehensive, bravely tried new things, discovered new passions, and now walk around the Y like they own it. What they really own now is the knowledge to continue to be health seekers and a desire to help others who have been in their shoes to do the same. It is a beautiful thing to witness."
Livestrong at the Y is a free 12-week personal training program. During the first week they are given a health assessment to see where they are when they begin and then again at the end of the 12 weeks to see how much stronger they are. They are introduced to several types of classes to experience as well as health and nutrition talks. Drumming classes and art projects are offered as well.
Contributors have helped offset the cost of the program to keep it free for participants.
Livestrong members participated in the Northwest Savings 5K Walk/Run in downtown Warren. Two of the participants placed in the event, Janice Moore and Angie Hoffman and her husband.
If you or anyone you know is a cancer survivor, contact the Warren YMCA and do an intake to be part of the next group experience. Call the Warren YMCA at 726-0110 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to register.