A participant in the Moffitt Cancer Survivorship works out, demonstrating a standing cable oblique twist.

A survivorship program participant from our John Geigle branch.

It’s a common factor – almost all of us share nowadays – everyone has a cancer story. Either personal, a loved one, a friend, co-worker or acquaintance – we all know someone who has it or has lost someone dear to the deadly disease. For those going through the ordeal, words are not enough to describe their journey. So the YMCA of Suncoast and Moffitt Cancer Center have come together for action to help cancer survivors: The YMCA Survivorship and Wellness Program, powered by Moffitt has launched across six YMCA of the Suncoast branches with hope for expansion to additional locations.

An exercise program for cancer survivors, the initiative helps participants regain strength, cardiovascular functioning and flexibility after their cancer treatment and diagnosis. The program also helps reduce the severity of therapy side effects, prevent unwanted weight changes and improves energy levels. Ultimately, participants learn and develop their own physical fitness program so they can continue practicing a healthy lifestyle – as part of recovery and as a way of life.

Jennifer I. Vidrine, Ph.D., assistant center director for Research Community Partnerships at Moffitt Cancer Center discusses the collaboration:

“Moffitt is incredibly excited about this opportunity to partner with the Suncoast YMCA on strengthening the health and well-being of cancer survivors in our community. Cancer survivorship begins at the moment of diagnosis and continues throughout life. Our collective goal is to leverage each of our organizations’ unique strengths to improve the cancer survivorship experience and reduce health disparities throughout our community.”

"Moffitt is committed to providing cancer prevention, research, education and outreach to our local community members, and this aligns beautifully with the Cancer Survivorship Program Powered by Moffitt that is being delivered by the YMCA. This new partnership is especially exciting because we have made a strong mutual commitment to work together to continually evolve and improve the program. We will work together to develop a strong evidence base that supports improvements to the program that we ultimately decided to offer to the community. Achieving this will require that we work together to establish this evidence base through partnering on cutting edge research projects. As our partnership and the Program grow, we expect to offer additional opportunities for Program participants, including opportunities to focus on improving physical strength, reducing fatigue, and enhancing diet and nutrition,” noted Dr. Vidrine.

Certified instructors give personal, individualized instruction to participants in small groups. Here’s what a program participant at our Citrus branch shared anonymously:

"I am in the Suncoast YMCA/Moffitt Survivorship Program, and I am very grateful for the opportunity to work on returning to the 'best that I can be’ after radical cancer surgery (18 months ago) which has affected my endurance and my strength. Janel and Kathy have been so helpful and encouraging along with all their volunteers."

Summer Cruff, Vice President of Healthy Living, YMCA of the Suncoast shares the program was launched to “improve the lives of those in our community.”

“We are so grateful for the expertise and partnership Moffitt brings to our survivorship program. The ability to help those in our community effected by cancer is a synergy between our organizations and I am looking forward to all of the great work we will do together.”

Published Monday, Aug. 28, 2023