Stephanie Angelo has only one regret about participating in the Livestrong at the YMCA program.
“I wish I’d found it the day I was diagnosed,” said Angelo, who learned she had breast cancer on Dec. 5, 2011. She finished the first 12-week session of the Livestrong program offered at the Marshall Family Y in Evans on Nov. 29.
Livestrong at the YMCA is a program for people who have been diagnosed with cancer and are at any stage of treatment, recovery or remission. It was introduced as a pilot program at the North Augusta branch of the Family Y last year.
With each new session, another branch has been added. The Marshall branch is the third to offer the program. Sessions typically start in January and September.
Participants receive a free three-month membership to the Family Y while enrolled in the program, which is offered for ninety minutes twice a week.
“There are three segments. They do 30 minutes of cardio, 30 minutes of weights and 30 minutes of core and stretching,” said Alisa Mountain, one of the program’s instructors.
Participants undergo an assessment at the beginning and end of the program to measure several areas including flexibility, range of motion, reach and strength.
Angelo said her rounds of radiation and chemotherapy had weakened her muscles. In addition to participating at the Y she has also been running and adding in other workouts.
“I’m easily in good a shape as I was in college when I joined the Army,” said Angelo, who will be going through the training to become a Livestrong instructor.
Mary Paulk was another member of the Marshall Y’s inaugural Livestrong program.
“I have always been a member of the Y, but I’ve never done any of the machines,” said Paulk, who was diagnosed in the early stages of breast cancer about two years ago after doctors found a malignancy during a routine mammogram.
She said she’s enjoyed being a part of the program
“I feel better. It’s helped me a lot,” she said.
Instructors undergo additional training to learn how to work with the cancer survivors and adapt to their needs.
“The instructors are trained in the elements of cancer, post rehab exercise and supportive cancer care,” according to the Livestrong Foundation’s Web site, www.livestrong.org.
Shonna Sargent, Marshall Family Y program director, said the first group at her branch had five participants. The maximum allowed is 10.
“This is a population we need to reach,” she said. “We are trying to expand.”
Sargent said the next start date for the program has not been set. To learn more, call (706) 922-9654