LIVESTRONG at the YMCA: more than just fitness

Monday, September 18, 2017

When Joe and Annette Swain moved to North Carolina 4 years ago, they were faced with some of the same challenges that most of us face when we move to a new community. They didn’t know many people and had to learn their way around a new town.

A Unique Experience

But they both had something in common that made their experience more unique. This married couple were both cancer survivors. The Swains joined the Chapel Hill – Carrboro YMCA shortly after they moved to the area, and began taking Tai Chi classes. That’s when they learned about the LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program from their instructor.
LIVESTRONG at the YMCA is 12-week program for adult cancer survivors. Survivors participate in a health and fitness program in a small group setting. Through the program, certified YMCA instructors help patients build muscle mass and strength, increase flexibility and endurance, and improve energy levels and self-esteem.

Every Day Heroes

It didn’t take long for Joe and Annette to discover that there was much more than physical fitness to be learned in the program.
“Annette and I were fortunate, in that both of our cancers were discovered early.” Said Joe. “There were people in our group that had been through so much more than me – they were the heroes of the program.”
Through physical exercise and programs like meditation, yoga and opportunities to talk about their experiences, LIVESTRONG at the YMCA aims to care for the whole person, and not just treat the disease.

More than just fitness

Joe mentions that connecting with other people in the group is one of the best parts of the program. “You get to meet people with similar issues and who have been through a lot of the same things.” He said. “Cancer’s not a one-time thing. It can come back in an instant, and the range of things I’ve learned in the program has opened my eyes to all kinds of new ways to stay healthy and connected me to some great people who I know I can depend on for support.”
The LIVESTRONG at the YMCA Program is offered throughout the year. The program is offered free of charge, thanks to gifts to the YMCA Annual Support Campaign. Hear more of Joe's story here. Learn more about the program and how you can get involved here.