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YMCA program helps cancer survivors become active again

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By Amanda Manning

Twice a week, cancer survivors meet with trainers at the Oldham County Family YMCA to build strength and community.

The Oldham County YMCA is in its second year of the Livestrong Program. Since it began in 2016, it has doubled its number of participants.

For three months, adult cancer survivors meet with a trainer in the free group exercise support program.

“We serve every single individual that’s had cancer,” Oldham County YMCA Wellness Director Karen Wyatt said. “If you’ve had cancer in the last couple of years, that’s fine, please come join our program because we know how difficult it is to get your health back after something like that.”

The program is fully funded by donations through the YMCA’s annual campaign. “It just takes that burden right off the table for them,” Oldham County YMCA Executive Director Josh Ransdell said.

The local program has served survivors of leukemia, prostate cancer, colon cancer and breast cancer, among other types.

“We definitely know over the last several years cancer has really increased,” Wyatt said. “We don’t quite know why certain kinds of cancer have really increased and how many people are getting cancer, but we do know its happening.”

“We’re not training folks to be body builders or high end athletes, we’re getting you back to what was once normal functions of your life,” trainer Kate Farrow explained.

“I went to an outing with my girlfriends and didn’t have to use my cane. I’m a functioning part of my family now I couldn’t pick up my kids before and now, ‘I got this,’” Farrow recalled stories people have told her.

Debbie, a breast cancer survivor, said Farrow met them wherever they were.

“There was days were I was going through chemo where literally just walking to the mailbox was more than I could do so to come here and have Kate meet me exactly where I was at with no energy and just kind of work with me that day was great,” she said.

The Livestrong program also offers a free membership to the cancer survivor’s family during the 12-week program.

“This is also for the whole family that had to watch their loved one go to death’s door and come back,” Farrow said. “For those folks, they put their lives on hold, sitting in hospital rooms, not going to work either.”

The program just began offering night sessions with Wyatt twice a week and continues to offer day sessions with Farrow.

To learn more about the Livestrong program, visit https://www.ymcalouisville.org/oldham-county/livestrong/livestrong.html.

To donate to the YMCA’s annual campaign, visit ymcalouisville.org/give/oldham-county.html.