Cancer patients get free workouts at the Y
From the April, 2014 issue
When Marie Kuhlman's breast cancer recurred after nearly ten years of remission, the no-nonsense accountant was determined not to "shrivel up in the house and wait to die." Instead, she signed up for the Ann Arbor YMCA's "Livestrong" program, which offers free fitness workouts for cancer patients. Kuhlman got so much out of the twelve-week program that, after it ended, she joined a "grad" program whose members work out with less supervision.
Coordinator Suzanne Kessler says that in addition to strengthening muscles and improving balance, the program is highly social. While there is no formal discussion period, former massage therapist Eddy Chacon-Lontin, who's undergoing treatment for lymphoma, says he's had "incredible conversations" while "walking side by side with someone on a treadmill."
It's not unusual for participants--who also do some swimming--to end up becoming paying members of the Y. But Kessler is proud that, thanks to its donors, the Y can offer the Livestrong program at no charge. Groups are limited to twelve participants, and she can usually get newcomers enrolled within a couple of weeks.
[Originally published in April, 2014.]
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