Cancer survivors say lives improve through program at YMCA

Credit: KTVB

Cancer survivors say lives improve through program at YMCA

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by Scott Evans

Bio | Email | Follow: @ScottEvansKTVB

Idaho's NewsChannel 7

Posted on May 4, 2011 at 6:42 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 13 at 1:14 AM

BOISE -- Debbe Sinquefield will take part in the Race for the Cure for the first time on Saturday.  The Boise woman says the only way that’s even possible is because of the help of a program from the YMCA specifically designed to help anyone and everyone fighting cancer.

"When you hear the diagnosis, of course, that you have cancer, you immediately think the worst," said Sinquefield.

“We believe in Life. Your life.” Those words begin the mission of Livestrong at the YMCA.

The program started in September of 2007, and the Boise Downtown Y was one of the first in the country to get it. Now there are over 100 alumni.

"We provide educated, certified exercise, cancer exercise specialists who know how to work with cancer survivors," said Vicki DiMatteo.

DiMatteo is a certified instructor for a 75-minute class that ranges from six to ten members each week. On this day they lifted weights. Other days they focus on endurance, or flexibility, or stretching.

"Whatever it will take to get our participants a little bit stronger and feeling better about their daily activities," said DiMatteo.

And it's working.

"I can't say enough about this program," said Sandra Welker.

Welker had surgery six months ago and is now cancer free.

"Physically, your body has to get completely rebalanced," said Welker. "Nothing that the muscles that you used to use, you can't use, and the muscles that you need to use are weak." 

Sinquefield is also cancer free, but with all cancer survivors, the battle came with a price.

"It just tries to take your life. It tries to take everything away from you and you just have to stay strong, and you have to get up, you have to go to work, and you have to just fight it," said Sinquefield.

That fight has given her the strength to take part in the Race for the Cure.

"If I had not done this program, I do not believe I could walk 3.1 miles," said Sinquefield.

Sinquefield, Welker and over 100 women did, and are currently fighting cancer with the help of the program.

"When you have chemotherapy and you have no hair, there's no self esteem, and this program is helping me build my self esteem to where I look better, I feel better," said Sinquefield.

This program is absolutely free for anyone who is a cancer survivor or has been diagnosed with the disease.

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