The LAF and YMCA


Working at the Lance Armstrong Foundation, it’s no surprise that we hear a lot of stories of cancer survivors who were once physically active, but due to their cancer treatment they have either quit exercising completely or have a limited ability to exercise. Cancer survivors are often left unsure of what they can or can’t do after completing treatment.

These stories left us thinking of a way we could support cancer survivors in their return to physical activity and we found the perfect partner – the YMCA. Whether you are a current member of your local YMCA, grew up going to the Y or have just heard of it, you likely are somehow connected to the Y either directly or indirectly.

Over the past year, we have worked with the YMCA National Office and a group of expert advisors to pull together the best practices related to exercise and cancer survivors. We have also looked at the many ways YMCA staff can offer support to survivors in their communities and how they will provide a positive, learning environment for survivors wanting to increase physical activity. It’s been a busy year, but we are making progress in developing a program that will reach many across the U.S.

Last week, I left the warm, sunny weather in Austin and attended a meeting in Chicago with the YMCA National and 10 nationwide YMCA branches. (I think it’s important to note that when I left Austin the pilot announced that the temperature in Chicago was currently 3 degrees Fahrenheit. WOW!) The meeting was great and each of the branches had ideas on how they could partner with local cancer organizations and ways they could uniquely support cancer survivors.

In the next few months, the following YMCA branches will begin working directly with cancer survivors to determine a program that can be replicated in other Ys in 2009:

  • Charlotte, NC
  • Providence, RI
  • Seattle, WA
  • Rochester, NY
  • Dallas, TX
  • Ann Arbor, MI
  • Suncoast , FL(Clearwater/St. Petersburg)
  • Louisville, KY
  • Milwaukee, WI
  • Boise, ID

I am incredibly excited about this opportunity and will share more very soon!


  1. monica hurt says:

    Please keep me informed as to the specifics of the upcoming YMCA cancer survivor activities and opportunities in Milwaukee, WI.

    My son David has been battling metastatic colon cancer for almost 4 years now. Lance was Dave’s inspiration for taking up cycling and for committing himself to stay physically active as he battles his cancer. Dave has been a Y member for a number of years now and despite the cancer has even managed to participate in a few duathlons and triathlons! I would have to say that Dave counts Lance as one of his heroes!–the others being his Uncle Bob (who passed away from brain cancer a little over a year before Dave’s diagnosis) and Tony Snow (the former White House press secretary who is also battling colon cancer). Due to his treatment schedule, Dave won’t be able to see Lance in Madison, WI next week, but will be there in spirit as Lance shows his support and care for those with cancer.


  2. Barbara Earl says:

    I am very interested in this program. I live in New Jersey and very athletic. I was diagnosed with esophageal cancer 9/15/06. My treatment consisted of chemotherapy, radiation and surgery (12/6/06). In January 06 I started swimming, treadmill running and later added cycling. I was once a mountain climber, marathon runner, distance cyclist and backpacker.
    I’m struggling to get my life back and feeling depressed. Who do I turn to in NJ? How can I help get this program started here?
    I live through exercise.
    In advance I thank you for your help.

  3. Rima says:

    I’m impressed with the humanity of the cause. When I read the article and comments above, I started crying because I began recalling all those I love that have cancer. Instead of crying and feeling helpless, I’d like to help spread your cause in areas where there’s desperate need for support and proper exercise care. Can you please help me launch an effective program in Jordan so those with cancer and of course the family of those affected by the horrible disease may live more fulfilling lives? Thank you.

  4. Helen says:

    Please keep me informed about this partnership. I am a YMCA group exercise instructor and also work in my community’s senior fitness center. I attempted to access additional information at the YMCA web site concerning instructor training for this program but haven’t found any. This sounds like a wonderful, wonderful program. My YMCA is in Westerm MA.
    Many thanks

  5. dorothy head says:

    I am so happy to see this connection & hope there will be a location in Fort worth soon ( Dallas is not Fort Worth) I am a cancer survivor & also a patient navigator in a large cancer center & I’d love to be able to give more info about appropriate exercise to all my patients.
    Dorothy, Breast Cancer Patient Navigator.

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