Eugene Y and Livestrong help cancer survivors: 'I wasn't expecting to be so motivated'

The Livestrong program at the Eugene Family YMCA aims to help cancer survivors regain their strength. (SBG)

EUGENE, Ore. - Local cancer survivors are gaining their strength back.

It’s all part of a collaboration with the Eugene Family YMCA and the Livestrong Foundation – creating a free 12 week, exercise program to help achieve the goals of cancer survivors.

“I like to bike, commute around town,” says Alicia Moreno, a cancer survivor.

“I cycle a lot, so I get that kind of fitness,” says Tim Vignos, a cancer survivor.

But, between cancer treatments and recoveries, there wasn’t an option to maintain their stamina.

“I was feeling like I was never going to get back to anything even close to how strong I was before,” Moreno says.

Until the Livestrong at the YMCA program.

“Cancer can really be devastating to a person mentally emotionally and physically,” Colleen Glick with YMCA says. “As the weeks progress, as they realize what their body can still do or what their body is capable of doing, they start to build this confidence; they open up.”

The 90 minute classes focused on re-building their strength and balance through tai chi, yoga and sound healing.

“Throughout the process, I noticed things started improving,” Moreno says. “I still have a lot of mood swings, which is a side effect of a lot of that treatments that we go through, but they're better and I'm able to recover from them more quickly.”

However, these survivors say the real strength they found was within one another.

“If I ever felt like things were starting to go kind of in a downward spiral, I'm like oh well I'll see the group on Tuesday or Thursday,” Moreno says.

Getting inspiration from the instructors.

“I wasn't expecting to be so motivated by them,” Vignos says.

There’s another program just like it coming up in September.

This time, the YMCA is looking for men who have survived prostate cancer to apply.

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