People that have had a cancer diagnosis can get on a path to getting healthier through a 12-week program at Kosciusko Community YMCA.

Kosciusko Community YMCA has partnered with the Livestrong Foundation since 2015 and put on Livestrong classes six times a year. The next 12-week courses start Aug. 30 and Sept. 13.

During the 12-week course, participants meet twice a week at the YMCA for 90 minutes, said Susan Potter, chronic disease prevention coordinator for Kosciusko Community YMCA. The program is funded through the K21 Health Foundation.

The requirements are participants have to be at least 18 years old, have had a cancer diagnosis at some point and have a medical clearance.

Livestrong and the YMCA wanted to help people on a local level. Potter said there seems to be a lot of help during the diagnosis and treatment, but not a whole lot afterward and that’s where the Livestrong program comes in.

“And we do start some people while in treatment,” she said.

The program focuses on four areas: cardio, strength, flexibility and balance.

After the participant “graduates” from the program, they are given a free one-year membership to the YMCA. Potter said the goal is to get people to graduate, but they want them to come back.  

The YMCA feels the mind, body and spirit are all connected. The body is definitely the focus of the Livestrong program. Relationships are a big part of the program as well.

For the spirit, local pastors come to the classes at least once a week just to pray with participants, if they’d like, and encourage them.

In a typical class, the participants will meet on the second floor of the YMCA. At the beginning of the class, they have “circle time” where participants just talk about what’s going on. They then do balance exercises and warm up.

Then they do cardio. It is individualized since the program gets people of all ages and of all different fitness levels.

The goal at the end of the 12 weeks is for people to be able to do 30 minutes of cardio, Potter said.

Then participants do strength training. Like the cardio portion of the class, the goal at the end of the 12 weeks is to do 30 minutes of strength training.

The YMCA does assessments at the beginning and end of the program.

The purpose of the class is help people get stronger after their cancer diagnosis and feel more like themselves. For some people, the relational part of the program is what helps them the most, Potter said. It also helps the people start a routine of working out, as well as help in other ailments, such as high  blood pressure.

If interested in the Livestrong program, people can contact Potter at spotter@kcymca.org or call 574-269-9622, ext. 225.