“I was diagnosed with breast cancer April of 2017. My treatments included chemo, a lumpectomy, radiation and continued 5-year hormone therapy. I started LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA in the Spring of 2018 after my radiation and infusions finished. I found out about it from one of my practitioners at Summit Medical. I was given information on different resources, and this interested me. I grew up in Scotch Plains and was familiar with the Y. I also knew I had to do something to keep active. I had never belonged to a gym before, but the medicine I’m taking makes you gain weight, worsens your bone density, and can cause arthritis. I knew I needed to keep healthy both mentally and physically. My doctors tell me that if I didn’t come to the Y to exercise, I’d be a lot worse off.

When I joined LIVESTRONG®, there were about 8 or 9 others, a mix of men and women, some were breast cancer survivors, others had a different type. Talking to them also helped. Like I said, I never belonged to a gym, and I didn’t think I’d feel comfortable at one, but I always felt comfortable here. You see everyone from kids to adults – you have seniors with walkers and then you have the college kids in the summer. LIVESTRONG® got me to come here and then I decided to stay. Even when the Y was closed during the pandemic, I took the virtual classes and followed along with the videos on Facebook. I’m now here 4 days a week unless I’m away. I enjoy coming. I feel differently, not as good physically or mentally, when I don’t come.

I would say to other survivors or those newly diagnosed: take advantage of the help people give you, from the doctors to other patients as well as the services. And try to have the most positive attitude you can possibly have. Find someone, something to help you get through it.”