YMCA help cancer survivors get back on their feet

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Some people in our area are shaking, sweating and dancing to survive some of life's toughest battles.

A group at the YMCA on Market Street is exercising twice a week for 12 weeks. It's made up of people of all ages, genders and backgrounds. However, the group has one common battle that started far beyond gym walls. They all have had an experience with cancer.

There's power in numbers and when it comes it battling the disease survivors said it's better to have someone by your side.

The local YMCA is taking part in a project by the Livestrong Foundation. It is currently offering free training sessions to people who have survived cancer or who are currently battling it. The best part about it is you don't even have to be a member of the YMCA.

Those at the YMCA said they welcome any and all people who they call "health seekers." It's all a part of the Y's program to reach out to people who want to better their lives.

"Their spirits lift and they get confidence from being able to do this," said Lori Campbell.

Campbell is a cancer and leukemia survivor herself and is one of the trainers leading the men and women to their individual goals.

"They all have something in common," she said. "They are all cancer survivors. It's amazing to see the interaction from the beginning that they have."

And those survivors agree.

"Just seeing that she could do it, I said maybe I can too," said Brenda Buie when referring to Campbell and her journey.

Buie is going on her fifth year of being cancer-free. She said the disease turned her life around not only mentally but physically as well.

"My energy level was down," she said. "I wasn't able to do all the things as I was before."

Buie said her focus changed along with her balance and concentration, but with this new program things took a turn for the better.

Just this week, Buie managed to walk Greenfield Lake with her husband without stopping.

"I walked over four miles without having to stop so it's pretty amazing," she said.

There are women in the group getting ready for surgeries, while others are just trying to gain their confidence back while making a new friend or two.

And when they are not hitting the weight room, everyone heads down the hallway to the classroom for a round of Zumba and dancing.

This program lasts twelve weeks and a graduation is soon approaching for the group in training now.

If you'd like to get involved, all you have to do is contact the YMCA to set up an appointment.

A program of this nature would normally have a price tag of nearly $30,000. But thanks to the help of some local businesses, like the Cape Fear Memorial Foundation, the YMCA is able to provide it free to these survivors.

If your business would like to help donate to make sure this program continues in our area, please contact the YMCA.