BENEFITING: Central Florida YMCA
As many of you know, cancer has impacted me and my family very personally. For me, any one who takes a single breath after hearing the diagnosis of cancer is a survivor! Its not about winning or losing a fight, it's about the courage to take a breath and keep living for whatever time we have on this planet. With that said, thanks to early detection and targeted treatments, not only have the numbers of survivors in the US reached 15.5M this year, but survivors are living longer and longer. And yet, resources to address the unique needs of cancer survivors are sorely lacking. So when I was given the opportunity 3 years ago to leave "sick"-care and focus on caring for cancer survivors through the LiveSTRONG at the YMCA program, I knew this was exactly where I belonged. As a certified instructor and a leader of this program, I have been blessed beyond measure to personally meet and journey with hundreds of cancer survivors. This program is a 12 week wellness and activity program that leverages a small group setting that allows individualized attention on reclaiming physical health while allowing the emotional healing that can only come from the support of fellow cancer survivors. Each class consists of 1 certified instructor and only 6 survivors while family members of the survivor are offered full membership into the YMCA to promote their own health and recovery. In total, it costs $600 per person/family but the LiveSTRONG at the YMCA does not charge participants. This gift is not because the Livestrong Foundation subsidizes the program, but rather because the Y recognizes that cancer survivors and their families have already suffered significant financial challenges and this program is about reclamation of health and hope. But because of the financial impact, not every Y has the LiveSTRONG at the YMCA program or if it does, it can't afford to offer enough classes to meet the need or demand. So as most folks are turning October pink to raise awareness of breast cancer, I am going to challenge you to consider adding yellow to your October color wheel and make it cancer survivorship awareness month- specially LiveSTRONG at the YMCA month. Additionally, I would ask you to join me to raise funds to ensure we can reach more cancer survivors! Together, my friend Jen and I are challenging fellow LiveSTRONG at the YMCA instructors to be a part of our team (Team Live Strong) to defeat Team Cancer by supporting us as we attempt to run 1,153 miles over the 31 days in October (the distance between Orlando and Chicago-YUSA). Our team fundraising goal is $15,000 (the amount required to impact 25 more cancer survivors than last year). And my personal goal is to run, walk and/or crawl 250 miles in October--a challenge for me for sure, which is exactly the point. I am running because I can-and I run for all those who can't because of cancer! Please consider supporting me and Team Live Strong in prayer and financially if possible. And stay tuned for updates because I am collecting "Miles For A Mission-To Live Strong!"