Cancer Survivors Find Support at the Y

LIVESTRONG at the YMCA is filled with uplifting stories that feature individuals who have overcome obstacles and survived cancer. Sharon Beaman was kind enough to share her Y story with us and tell us how the LIVESTRONG program changed her life.

Sharon started her 12-week program with the Y in May when her doctor told her she was in remission.

“After several rounds of chemotherapy and all of the medication, I had gained a little over 20 pounds. My friends told me about the LIVESTRONG program. I managed to lose 19 pounds over the summer through the program.”

For Sharon though, the class offered much more than just the ability to lose weight.

LIVESTRONG at the YMCA“The program ended up being so much more. I got to meet different women with different cancers, and you don’t get that experience in the hospital. It was refreshing to talk to people about treatments we didn’t like and how our friends reacted. Everyone looked forward to it, and everyone became great friends. It was a tremendous support group.”

Sharon also credits a few individuals within the program for the impact it had on her.

“Debbie Slaughter was our leader. She basically spent a lot of time introducing us to everything the Y had to offer, from Yoga to dance to the weight room. I wouldn’t have been as motivated to go work out on my own, but Debbie and my friends helped me stay strong and stay active. It made a drastic impact on all of us.”

In addition to the friends she made during the class, Sharon says the class also changed her approach toward healthy living and LIVESTRONG at the YMCAcreating a workout routine.

“The LIVESTRONG program made me so much stronger physically. After six months of sitting in a chair and doing nothing, I can do an hour and a half of cardio a week and Pilates. Emotionally, it changes your perspective when you meet other people from different backgrounds that encourage you to continue to fight. One lady survived brain cancer and a stroke while having her brain tumor removed. It puts into perspective that there are other people out there that are fighting just as hard and have overcome so many big obstacles.”

Because of generous donors within the Houston community, the Y can offer the program at no cost. It was also one of the factors that played into the decision making for Sharon.

“If there was a cost, I don’t know if I would’ve signed up. The fact it didn’t cost anything was a big open door and a huge gift. To me it means a lot that I can tell anyone I know that the Y is awesome because the Y and this class have changed my life.”

Among her tremendous accomplishments through the LIVESTRONG program, one of her greatest achievements to date came fairly recently.

“I’ve returned to work. I have a part-time job. I can swim now. I can bike with my family. It feels great that I can do much of what I did before.”

Click here to learn more about LIVESTRONG at the YMCA.

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