Local support group for cancer survivors growing

BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. - A new support group for cancer survivors is growing.

Livestrong at the YMCA started in January at the Kansas City, Kan., and Olathe, Kan., YMCA locations. And, the number of people in the newly started program at the Blue Springs, Mo., location has doubled.

The program is for adult cancer survivors. Some are recently diagnosed, some are still in treatment and others are further along in their battle against cancer.

Although they often support each other, it is not a support group. It is meant to help survivors support themselves and get their strength back after the long hard battle against cancer.

"It's getting back to our new normal," cancer survivor Monica Hackett said.

The program helps them do that with a 12-week, small group program that assesses their condition and gives them a personalized routine that will help them meet their goals.

"In my case, I would like to walk a 5K," Hackett said. "So they're going to help me get to that goal down the road by tailoring the program specifically for my needs."

Many who complete the 12 weeks find they want to go on developing a healthier lifestyle.

"We've had some people that have said that they felt even more fit than they did before they had cancer, and have been able to go and do things with their family that they couldn't have done before," Livestrong at the YMCA Project Manager Shannan Garcia said.

The program is free for the participants and is funded through the Livestrong Foundation.

"We also include a family membership so they're able to put someone in their family, or even a caregiver, on that membership with them," Garcia added.

The Blue Springs location is the fourth in the area to help cancer survivors regain control of their lives.

Garcia said they hope to add the program to all area YMCA locations eventually.

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