I Am a LiveStrong Volunteer

When you become a cancer survivor, nothing is more precious than your health and your time. I learned this personally about two years ago when I was told I was “cancer free” after a six-month struggle with cancer.

During the first weeks and months of my survival, I was a bit week and unsettled. I wasn’t sure how to proceed with my new life. Joining the LiveStrong program at my local YMCA helped me transition from being a cancer patient to becoming an active cancer survivor. Through the Livestrong program I was taught the importance of restoring my physical health and becoming stronger. Going through the program with other cancer survivors was very helpful to overcome the feelings of isolation and depression that often accompany having cancer.

I soon found a wonderful local chair yoga program that matched my abilities and gave me confidence. I found a Great Books discussion group at my library that challenged my intellect and brought me new acquaintances. I connected with a local poetry organization and participated in some of their activities. I joined the March Challenge and became an avid Slicer for Two Writing Teachers But in the back of my mind, I knew I wanted to somehow “give back” to the LiveStrong program in return for all that it had given me.

And now I am doing just that. Last fall I volunteered to help out in the gym with a new group of survivors by just being there to help them negotiate the equipment and to talk with them about their experience. Although it was a good experience, I felt like it wasn’t really what I wanted to do.

About a month ago I talked to the new LiveStrong program director and told her I wanted to help publicize the program which didn’t seem to be doing enough outreach. She was thrilled to have my help and agreed to have me distribute promotion materials for the program and I have been happily doing so for the past two weeks. It’s not a fancy job, and probably no one else knows I’m doing it, but I enjoy the feeling of knowing that someone may pick up one of the brochures or read one of the posted fliers and discover the program. I’ve had some nice chats with local groups and organizations as I’ve explained the program to them and asked permission to leave the promotional materials with them.

The real benefit to volunteering is that it makes me feel good to be doing something to help others in dire straits and to know that I might be making a big difference in their lives. Becoming active in your own recovery is the best thing you can do to help yourself as a cancer survivor. The LiveStrong program taught me well and I am so grateful for it.

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15 thoughts on “I Am a LiveStrong Volunteer”

  1. I am so proud of you, Barbara! And you are totally right- our health and our time are two gifts that should not be overlooked. In a busy life, they can be, but you cannot do anything if you don’t have your health. And your time is so precious! My post today was about caring- being the Lorax- and I think you are a true example of that.

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    1. Nice to hear from you, friend. My mother’s favorite saying was: If you’ve got your health you’ve got everything. Of course I didn’t deeply understand that until my own illness stopped me dead in my tracks. So, enjoy your health and your precious time.
      PS I’ve been unable to attend Sat. am LIWP excursions due to conflicts.

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  2. Your post really touched me. I admire your pursuit on regaining your health, by utilizing all of the community outreach available. By highlighting those programs to others, you are spreading love and good cheer. “I wasn’t sure how to proceed with my new life,” is my favorite line – I copied it into my journal and will reflect on that today. I am thrilled you are “living strong.” Thanks for sharing

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  3. Even though you think no one really knows that you are doing this, there is someone somewhere who will be impacted in a big way by something you did. We never know how far and wide our work goes out. Kudos to you for making a difference, in your life and others!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I kinda felt the same way as an ENL teacher. It seemed like no one knew or cared about what I was doing with those kids, but I knew, or at least I hoped, that I was making a difference in their lives.

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  4. Congratulations to you on being a survivor and also for being there for others. I am sure your support and encouragement go a long way in helping others cope with what they are going through. It is all about giving back.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m German, so it’s genetic to be a do-er. I am grateful to have the health and time to DO these things. That’s one of the wonderful and special things about growing older and retirement.

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