YMCA offers Livestrong Program for cancer survivors

The Livestrong Foundation is a nonprofit organization that unites, inspires and empowers people affected by the disease. They partner with the YMCA to offer a program to survivors and begin another session

RAPID CITY, S.D. — Livestrong partnered with the YMCA years ago and created a 12-week physical activity program that meets twice a week for 90 minutes, designed to get survivors back on their feet.

Livestrong at YMCA

Livestrong Participants with Nicole Craig at YMCA

Nicole Craig, YMCA Group Exercise Coordinator, says, “A cancer survivor is once you’ve been diagnosed with any type of cancer whatsoever, you then start to become a cancer survivor. So we have people in our class that have just been diagnosed or are currently going through treatment or have been in remission for five or 10 years — it doesn’t matter, so we’ll take everybody for this program.”

The program focuses on strength training and cardiovascular endurance as well as balance and flexibility.

Nicole says, “The goal is to prove that ‘hey you might not be able to get back to what you were doing pre-cancer, but you can be stronger than what you are right now.'”

Russ Rearick, who was a skeptic of the program at first says it quite possibly saved his life and has committed gym workouts three times a week for the past four months.

Russ, a cancer survivor, says, “I wanted a program where they could teach me how to start. And this program is perfect for that, it showed me how to start exercising and getting my balance back and making myself stronger. This is a fun program, I strongly recommend it.”

Russ Rearick, Livestrong Participant

Russ Rearick, Livestrong Participant

He says surviving cancer is tough on a body, but Livestrong has helped him to get his stamina back.

Russ says, “And it’s made a really big difference, I mean just different things in life, you know, carrying groceries in — you know I couldn’t carry groceries in after shopping, I can do that. I couldn’t go up and down steps, I can do that now — it’s all about getting your regular life back.”

Not to mention the comradery with other survivors.

“It’s the reason you show up the next time is the friendships getting to know people,” says Russ.

For Rhonda, the physical activity helped her pain subside.

Rhonda Weisser, Livestrong Participant

Rhonda Weisser, Livestrong Participant

Rhonda Weisser, Livestrong Participant, says, “You could have the pain with the cancer as well as the treatments can cause some of this pain … it did help me immensely. It gives you a feeling of well-being and It just lifts you up and that’s important in this situation.”

Another Livestrong session begins this Thursday, click here for more information.

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