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Posted on 09.11.2013 1:23 p.m.

Channel Islands YMCA Selected to Offer LIVESTRONG Initiative for Cancer Survivors

Source: Michael Yamasaki for the Montecito Family YMCA

The Channel Islands YMCA has been selected to offer LIVESTRONG at the YMCA, a physical activity and well-being initiative that helps people affected by cancer reach their holistic health goals.

LIVESTRONG at the YMCA is part of a multiyear collaboration between YMCA of the USA, the national resource office of the Y, and LIVESTRONG.

Launched in 2008, LIVESTRONG at the YMCA is designed to improve the health and day-to-day quality of life for the country’s growing population of cancer survivors and their families by bringing customized, research-based health and well-being programs into communities across the country. To date, approximately 5,000 cancer survivors have participated in the program nationwide.

“Research shows exercise is the simplest way for cancer survivors to reduce fatigue, improve their mood and bounce back from the debilitating effects of cancer treatment more quickly,” said Andy Miller, LIVESTRONG executive vice president. “But there weren’t enough programs to help people affected by cancer reach their health and well-being goals, so LIVESTRONG and YMCA of the USA joined forces to create LIVESTRONG at the YMCA. The Y is the perfect collaborator because of its national reach, commitment to meeting the needs of all community members and history of program innovation in support of health and wellness.”

As a LIVESTRONG at the YMCA participant, the Channel Islands YMCA engages cancer survivors through an approach that focuses on the whole person. Participants work with trained Y staff to build muscle mass and strength, increase flexibility and endurance and improve functional ability. In addition to physical benefits, the program is also focused on the emotional well-being of survivors and their families by providing a supportive community environment where people affected by cancer can connect during treatment and beyond.

“Cancer is life-changing. How strong a person feels in spirit, mind and body can directly impact how he or she lives through and beyond treatment,” said Joan Price, executive director of the Montecito Family YMCA. “At the Y, we work to give all people the opportunity to meet their health and wellness goals and are delighted to collaborate with LIVESTRONG to offer those who have been diagnosed with cancer the support they need to build both emotional and physical strength.”

The program will pilot at the Stuart C. Gildred YMCA and the Montecito Family YMCA, two branches of the Channel Islands YMCA. Sign-ups are being taken for the pilot program now.

Currently, LIVESTRONG at the YMCA is offered at 61 Y associations around the country, with plans to reach 16-20 additional Y associations by the end of this year as a next step to broader, national dissemination.

For more information, email Margo Byrne, chief operating officer of the Channel Islands YMCA, at [email protected].

— Michael Yamasaki is an associate executive director of the Montecito Family YMCA.

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