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!