The Y’s Living Strong Living Well program connects people recovering from any cancer — from thyroid cancer, to lung cancer, to breast cancer. Participants strengthen in spirit, mind, and body, regaining strength, rebuilding muscle mass, and increasing energy. Under the guidance of trained support staff, program participants recover together, building confidence as their bodies heal. The program is offered at no cost, thanks to support from generous donors, the Stanford Health Improvement Program, and the Y.
Jeff, a Living Strong Living Well program participant from Palo Alto Family YMCA was initially diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2017. Later that year biopsy results revealed he also had bladder cancer. He went through two surgeries to remove the cancerous regions, and in February 2018 he began chemotherapy treatments.
As an active member on a competitive softball travel team, getting back on the field after treatment motivated Jeff to recover. Down 20 pounds from the 2 surgeries and chemotherapy treatments, his energy was at an all-time low. Realizing that he couldn’t jump right back into his normal life without support, he joined the Y’s Living Strong Living Well program to build strength and confidence.
“It was almost like group therapy in a way, because everyone would do their strength training together, and then would move into stretching and meditating as a group, and we did all of it together,” Jeff describes the program experience. “For me this was a tremendous help. Getting myself back to playing condition and building strength was huge, but also being around other people going through similar things really helped me heal mentally.”
Now 6 months out from treatment, he is cancer free and grateful to the Living Strong Living well program for giving him his confidence back. “It was a tremendously uplifting and revitalizing experience.” Jeff continues to practice many of the strength and stretching routines at home as he continues to rebuild strength.
When breast cancer survivor Audrey was first diagnosed, she was overwhelmed with resources and support groups to choose from. The more she read and researched, the more obvious her choice became. Other programs offered support when you needed it, boasting low commitment, and schedule flexibility. Audrey’s approach to beating cancer did not align with these programs.
Fully committed to beating cancer and living life to the fullest as she recovered, she wanted a support program that would connect her with other committed cancer survivors and dedicated instructors – making South Valley YMCA’s Living Strong Living Well program the perfect fit.
The program offered Audrey the support and encouragement she needed to start taking small steps towards better health. In Audrey’s case, this was quite literal. She started walking on the treadmill at the Y. She enjoyed the results so much that she began to walk on her own too. Audrey explains that with every step on the treadmill, she felt her battle with cancer fall further behind her. Now a Living Strong Living Well program graduate, Audrey continues to walk daily.
Throat cancer survivor, Joe, became a member of Living Strong Living Well program after he had finished cancer treatment, but still wasn’t mentally or physically well. Counselors, doctors, and family members encouraged him to strengthen his body, advising that the mind would follow suit. Ready to make a positive change, Joe enrolled in Living Strong Living Well at Southwest YMCA. Sure enough, his strength returned with the support of program members and staff.
As his mental and physical health improved, Joe decided he wanted to give back. At the conclusion of the 12 week program, he had made up his mind. He would volunteer as a Living Strong Living Well Coach. Now 3 years from his initial cancer diagnosis, Joe is coaching a new batch of Living Strong Living Well program participants. “I want them to know that they have already overcome one of the hardest things possible and that they can get their