Prior to her diagnosis, she had been struggling with depression from the loss of her mother due to ovarian cancer the year before. Her cancer diagnosis put her in the fight for her own life. After the treatment was done, she felt all alone again. Her body felt worse, she was weak, and had aches and pains from the side effects of the tamoxifen. She knew she needed to exercise to start feeling better but didn’t know how she was going to do it by herself. She went to the local library looking for something entirely different and saw a flyer about the Living Strong Living Well cancer survivor program at the Y. She realized right then that she had to try and be in this program – that God was leading her there – so even if there was a waiting list she knew she would get in – so she called and signed up.
At the first class, the YMCA staff was very welcoming. The Living Strong instructors were also very attentive, supportive, caring, encouraging and compassionate. They were of course knowledgeable, but it was their hearts that really made the difference for her.
“The program helped me with my focus, concentration, memory, balance, coordination and strength. The most important thing I received from the program was that it brought my soul back to life. I am no longer alone. The wonderful women of the small group gave each other support and encouragement to keep going on our journey back to good health. We had fun, danced and laughed together. I am truly grateful and blessed to have had the opportunity to be a part of such a wonderful program that helps people get their body and their lives back – it truly helped me Mind, Body and Soul.“
After her twelve week program, Karen began volunteering for the next Living Strong Living Well group. She was instrumental in providing the same kind of support as others had provided her. Since that time, Karen has joined the staff at Sequoia YMCA. She enjoys staying active; from her high school days of being a pompom girl at Sequoia High School to earning her Kettlebell certification and most recently completing her Living Strong Living Well certification. As a former Living Strong Living Well graduate she enjoyed the program so much she wanted to pay it forward. She has compassion and the drive to help adult cancer survivors increase their quality of life.
“I am so happy to be able to give help to others the way I was helped. It is so rewarding to give back and be a part of other people’s journeys to good health and wellness.”