Trish Connors has a family history of breast cancer and was vigilant about being screened regularly. Her mother lost her battle with breast cancer when she was in her 50s. Unfortunately, Trish was diagnosed at the age of 51. Trish was going through treatment when she heard about the LIVESTRONG program at the Melrose Family YMCA. LIVESTRONG is a wellness program designed to help adult cancer survivors reclaim their health, well-being and quality of life following a cancer diagnosis. Throughout the 12 weeks of the program, participants meet twice a week to improve their strength and balance to diminish the severity of therapy side effects through specially designed exercises.

When Trish began the program, she was so weak that she could barely walk and struggled to bend over to tie her shoes. She began to realize how much she relied on the help of her fellow group mates, and how willing they all were to help, even if it was picking up her clipboard and carrying it to the next exercise. The trainers guided her through modifications so she could complete the exercises to the best of her ability. During the 12 weeks, with both physical and moral support, Trish grew stronger and her balance improved. She loved the welcoming environment at the Y, and for the first time in her life she looked forward to being active.

“I looked at it as an absolute privilege that I got picked for this program,” Trish said. “It was life-changing for me, it truly was, what it did for me emotionally and physically.”

Trish describes the biggest benefit of LIVESTRONG as the emotional strength she gained. The strong relationships she developed with her fellow participants and trainers have blossomed into lifelong friendships. Trish says the sense of community at the Y and the support she has received gave her hope, helping her heal on her road to recovery. Now a Y member, Trish continues to volunteer with current LIVESTRONG sessions to ensure that future participants get as much out of the program as she did.

Learn more about the LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program.