At the YMCA, we’re committed to supporting our friends, families and neighbours in their fight against cancer. That’s why we offer the YMCA Cancer Survivor Program.
CANCER SURVIVOR at the YMCA is a 12 week physical activity and support program for cancer survivors. At no cost to the survivor, the YMCA provides a safe exercise program and environment for cancer survivors to gain and reclaim their health and well-being. You don't have to be a Y member to take part in this life changing program; non-members are most definitely welcome and encouraged!
CANCER SURVIVOR at the YMCA focuses on the whole person, not the disease. Instructors also help participants develop their own physical fitness program so they can continue to practice a healthy lifestyle. YMCA instructors are trained in the elements of cancer, post rehab exercise and supportive cancer care. 12 week programs occur several times throughout each year and are FREE.
Who is a Cancer Survivor?
Those who are living with, through and beyond cancer.
- Improved muscle mass and strength
- Increased flexibility and endurance
- Improved confidence and self-esteem
This photo was taken in February 2014 after round two of four rounds of chemotherapy, and three months post surgery for ovarian cancer. At the point in time that this photo was taken I did not know what effect the chemotherapy drugs and the result of surgery would eventually have on my muscles and joints.
My daughter attends gymnastic classes at the YMCA Bowen Hills and, as a result of being on their mailing list I received an email entitled “Do you know someone who is a Cancer Survivor?” back in mid July. I read this email about a 12 week exercise program for cancer survivors and decided at once this was something I not just needed, but had to do. I was nearing three years post diagnosis (November 2013) and feeling less and less fit. My arms lacked the strength they once had, my endurance level was very low, I was struggling to keep up with my children, and I was beginning to think this must just be how it is going to be. I emailed back straight away to see if I could get a spot into the program.
The first sessions were brutal. I felt like the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz, slowly getting oiled, loosening my mussels getting them started once again. I was one of the longest past diagnoses in the group and was in awe of the other attendees starting this program not much past their last chemo rounds, and in some cases during another course of chemo.
I can feel the improvement of the last 12 weeks. I am much stronger in my arms and core. I have also noticed an increased level of strength in the yoga class that I have been attending since before starting the 12 week program. I once again feel better prepared to keep up with my children and enjoy physical activities with them. Aside from the physical improvements that I have gained, I have also now met a whole group of people similar to me. It is a precious network of friendship that I have not found elsewhere on my cancer journey. I am grateful that the YMCA Bowen Hills has offered this program and grateful for all of the effort and encouragement that Jared has put into each of our sessions.
I wish this program had been offered, or I had known of a program like this when I had finished my course of chemotherapy in March 2014. It is my sincere hope that YMCA Bowen Hills continues this 12 week Cancer Survivor program and can ally itself with the likes of Ovarian Cancer Australia, the Mater Cancer Care Centre and similar institutions.
My name is Nili and I was diagnosed with breast cancer last November, for the past 10 months I've been through chemotherapy and radiation. I heard about the cancer survivors Programme through a friend who's a member at the YMCA. I decided that I needed to do something to start getting my life back. My body had been through so much nothing could be worse. Within a few weeks I noticed a significant change in my mood and energy levels. My progress throughout the last 3 months is unbelievable, if anyone had told me what a difference this would make to my life I wouldn't have believed them. Jared our trainer has been so supportive he arrives at every training session with a smile on his face, always happy to help, he's gives me the confidence to believe i can achieve more. I have learnt so much about my body and it's ability to heal, My energy levels are a lot higher, I defiantly feel stronger and I've lost most of the weight that I gained during my treatment.
This Programme has been so inspirational I have met a group of amazing survioirs who I now call my friends.
Thank you so much to our trainer Jared and the YMCA.
My experience with the CSP has been an immensely positive one. I cannot speak highly enough of Jared Thomlinson as our trainer, mentor, and a friend who strives for us to achieve our physical and mental capabilities every single day.
I was diagnosed with Stage III Invasive Breast Cancer in January this year. A week later I was on the operating table, had a lumpectomy and full axillary clearance in my left arm. Two weeks post -surgery I was undergoing Chemotherapy for 5 months with an aggressive regime, having 3 drugs onboard (TAC). I put on a lot of weight, with each session, followed by 30 sessions of Radiation every day. My body was foreign to me, my hair fell out immediately, my skin was grey, and I was getting bigger daily. To make myself feel better I would walk 5kms daily, but the chemicals and drugs started catching up with me as fatigue set in. This was a dark time for me. The Breast Cancer Institution at the Wesley Hospital offered a Look Good Feel Good program. But there was nothing else to support my growing concerns about my body and fatigue.
At the completion of my program I went to the GP who offered me a 5 session pilates course with an affiliated physio. This was great, but still very expensive. After all the treatment and associated medical costs, I was getting more depressed. I entered this program after a friend, Rachel Menkens had heard along the grapevine that it was being offered. I was so excited to hear it was a strength and conditioning program for cancer survivors and was free! This was music to my ears.
The CSP has given me my life back, my body back and I feel I can achieve goals again not only physically but mentally as well. Jared customizes workouts accordingly and adapts them to our strengths and weaknesses. Every session is rewarding and builds self-confidence, so I can now work with the other CSP teammates as we catch up independently on Fridays and socially as well. We have all made lifelong friends through this program, we all have different cancers but similar journeys. I have now returned back to full time work, and enjoy feeling my body change shape and become stronger and happier. I am eternally grateful for this program and Jared who is incredibly knowledgeable and intuitive to each and everyone of us and our needs. Gratitude helps us to see our situation in a way that can minimize stress and open up thinking to new solutions.
I believe if I could share this knowledge of the program to other patients at the Wesley Breast Clinic, ladies with similar experiences would benefit from attending this program perhaps at an earlier stage than I attended, to give them hope and a sense of accomplishment throughout their treatment. I value these sessions, I honor them and am eternally grateful to Jared and the YMCA-Bowen Hills for helping me.