Local Livestrong Programs Going Strong Despite Armstrong's Doping Admission

By: Elizabeth Schilder Email
By: Elizabeth Schilder Email

In a two part special airing Thursday and Friday night on OWN, Lance Armstrong admitted for the first time to doping throughout his career. In October, Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and stepped down as the Chair of the Livestrong Foundation. Thursday, the Livestrong Foundation released a statement expressing their disappointment in Armstrong, but promising their mission of helping people fight, survive and thrive after cancer will continue. One place that mission is continuing is right in our backyard at the Aspirus YMCA in Weston.

"Studies have shown that moderate, even just moderate exercise has helped them regain strength after the devastating effects of chemo and radiation," Project Manager of the Livestrong Program YMCA Christy Parks explained.

That's why the Aspirus YMCA couldn't pass up the opportunity to partner with the Livestrong Foundation to offer a free 12 week exercise program for cancer survivors.

"What we're giving the survivors is success," Parks said.

While the goal of the Livestrong program at the YMCA is to build muscle and increase indurance, the survivors are also building relationships.

"For the survivors, each session helps them to develop friends, a sense of comradery and a sense of belonging," Parks said.

It's not just the survivors who's lives are touched.

"We've really had some kind of amazing stories that have come out of it and I think that's what gives us a sense of commitment, the people who work with the survivors...We've had some sadness but for the most part these are survivors who are finding ways to live with this disease and find strength," Parks shared.

Despite the scandal surrounding Livestrong founder Lance Armstrong, the Livestrong program at the YMCA is thriving.

"I would say that we haven't been, felt an impact from it.Of course it makes us sad, but the work we're doing is providing this exercise program that The Y is really good at," Parks told NewsChannel 7.

In their last session, the Aspirus Y had so much interest in the program that they formed two groups for the very first time. The Woodson YMCA in Wausau also has a Livestrong group. So far more than 30 cancer survivors have participated in the program.

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