Classes vital for cancer survivors

I wanted to write a letter of thanks to the YMCA Livestrong Program in Snohomish County. I was lucky enough to take the 12-week Livestrong Class in the Fall of 2015. I can’t say enough positive things about our class and our wonderful couches, Carrol Bailey and Ryan French. It was just a great experience.

I had sarcoma cancer about 5 years ago, and I did not take the class then because I was working at Boeing. Now I am retired and feel so lucky that I was able to take the class. The Livestrong Program at the YMCA is a gift. People come out of the cancer experience emotionally and physically weakened. It takes quite a while to feel like a normal person again. On our first day of class we went around the room and introduced ourselves. We shared our cancer stories. Our couches, Carrol and Ryan, were very positive and compassionate. I really met some wonderful people in the class. Throughout our physical portion of the class our couches gave individualized advice and encouragement. We shared lots of informative discussions on things like choosing nutritious foods and being more physically active. Exercising with this group of ladies and our couches provided accountability and motivation for the 12 weeks.

I think the class empowers cancer survivors. It improves their strength and quality of life. Some people are probably afraid to exercise or not sure how to start. It can be intimidating to people. I believe exercise can change your life — making you stronger emotionally and physically. We tried tons of new activities like water aerobics, Zumba, yoga, TRX suspension training, and spinning class. One of our favorite classes was a Cajun/Zydeco dance class with Sean Donovan.

It was such a cohesive, supportive group. We also did some praying for each other as some members were still going through some cancer treatment. It was a fun-loving group, and we made some good friends. Thank you for making such a wonderful class available to cancer survivors in Snohomish County. Also thanking for sharing Carrol and Ryan with us for the 12 weeks. They are dedicated health professionals and do an exceptional job working with cancer survivors. Also thanks to Lynette Monpas who coordinates the classes.

If you are a cancer survivor and have never taken the Livestrong Classes at the YMCA, I strongly recommend them. There will be new classes starting in February or March. I promise it will be a rewarding experience.

Jolene Burnett is a resident of Everett.

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