Y’s Livestrong program seeking participants

Jim Hunt, of Marshalltown, said his battle with cancer had left him feeling tired and unmotivated.

Friends and faith helped Sindy Smith fight and get through a breast cancer diagnosis, double mastectomy and breast reconstruction.

She was well on the road to recovery from those challenges when cancer struck a second time.

“When the doctor told me ago I had cancer again – this time ovarian cancer – I nearly lost it,” said Smith of Ames. Jerry Lansing’s cancer was tough on him, but he wasn’t going to let it beat him.

He had a business to run.

The disease had reduced his energy and strength.

Those cancer survivors have three things in common. They are cancer survivors, they used the Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA’s Livestrong program to fight back against the insidious disease and all gained increased flexibility, endurance and strength.

Sue Fehrmann, Health and Wellness coordinator at the Y, now wants to see more people like Hunt, Smith and Lansing take advantage of the program.

The Y is offering a winter Livestrong session beginning Jan. 6 and more participants are needed.

“Participating regularly in Livestrong has proven to increase the balance, endurance and strength of participants,” she said. “Additionally, cancer-survivors have found it helpful to talk openly about the disease with classmates and how it has affected them. We’ve had 72 participants graduate since we started more than 2.5 years ago.

Livestrong is a free-of-charge, 12-week program tailored to fit the specific needs of cancer survivors who wish to improve their quality of life before, during and after treatment.

Classes meet twice weekly for approximately 75 minutes.

Included are instruction in cardio-enhancement, weight-training equipment, nutrition, stretching and yoga.

Anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer is eligible, and one does not have to be a Y member to join.

Founded in 1997 by cancer survivor and cyclist Lance Armstrong, Livestrong advocates for the estimated 28 million people around the world living with cancer today.

The program changed Hunt.

“The Livestrong program changed me from a person who did not want to leave the house, to one who looked forward to attending classes twice a week,” he said.

Karen Engesser, of Marshalltown, a recent graduate, said the program made it comfortable for her to use the Y and its fitness equipment.

“And I definitely became stronger,” she said. “My husband and I plan to join the Y in January and we will work to maintain the fitness level we achieved in Livestrong.

For more information, contact Fehrmann at 641-752-8658 or sue.fehrmann@ymca-ywca.org.

Editor’s Note: Reporter Mike Donahey is a certified Livestrong instructor with the Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA.