The program will be offered at all five of the Saratoga Regional YMCA’s branches including Corinth, Wilton, Battenkill, Malta and the main branch on West Avenue in Saratoga Springs. This is thanks in part to the 4,732 votes cast in favor of the Saratoga Regional YMCA.
“It was such a short campaign, and the way the information went viral absolutely blew my mind. We knew we were working hard on our end to get this out there, but the outreach that we had and the effect that it made was tremendous,” said Melissa McCreary, the Group Health and Wellness Director for Saratoga Regional YMCA.
The grant is for $3,500, and according to LIVESTRONG’s website this now means the Saratoga Regional YMCA can use that money to support the initiative and launch other projects, as well as fund stipends or purchase extra supplies.
The program’s focus ranges anywhere from rebuilding muscle mass and endurance, to helping survivors cope emotionally by restoring their self-esteem and confidence.
“We need to know where they’re coming from, we need to know what they can or can’t do. We want to know what’s going to benefit them both physically and emotionally so when they walk out of here they feel stronger as a person,” said McCreary.
The program is not expected to be implemented until 2013, as staff must complete a six-month training course before the initiative can begin.
“When you’re dealing with cancer patients and cancer survivors, you’re not just looking at someone walking in off the street looking for a new fitness program. You’re looking at the physical and emotional sides of things. Many cancer patients that I’ve spoken to have said it’s overwhelming to walk into a fitness facility, and before we can help them work back to where they want to be, we need the training to support that,” said McCreary.
LIVESTRONG will work with the Saratoga Regional YMCA for the first year, but the YMCA is responsible for sustaining the program after that. Though it’s a great problem to have, McCreary says she may not have enough positions for the many people who’ve expressed interest in being involved with the program.
Saratoga Regional YMCA was nominated out of the LIVESTRONG’s Region 8 candidates, who included New York and the surrounding New England states. There were six total YMCAs selected from Region 8, three of which can be found in New York state including: Saratoga, Buffalo-Niagara YMCA, and Broome County YMCA. Two facilities in Connecticut were also selected, along with one facility in Massachusetts.
In all, 90 programs across the country will benefit from over $1.4 million provided by the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The 90 programs receiving funds in 2012 are the largest number of community-based awards granted in a single year in the history of the foundation.
The 12-week program will be free for those who wish to attend, with specific programs designed to aid individuals reaching the end of their cancer treatment adjust to the physical and emotional changes they may have experienced.
The Community Impact Project works by replicating successful programs from one community and bringing them to others. All across the United States organizations like Saratoga Regional YMCA apply to bring these programs to their communities. If an organization is approved, LIVESTRONG then opens the process for voting from within the communities, as a way to gauge long-term sustainability of a community-based program. Voting was opened for the 2012 campaign to the general public March 7 and remained open until March 23. The LIVESTRONG website is reporting that over 450,000 total votes were received nationwide.