YMCA of San Diego County Receives Grant from Anthem Blue Cross Foundation in Support of Cancer Survivors Program

San Diego, April 2, 2018 — The YMCA of San Diego County will positively impact the lives of local cancer survivors in 2018 thanks to a generous $50,000 grant from the Anthem Blue Cross Foundation. Grant funds will expand the reach of LIVESTRONG at the YMCA, a 12-week small group program that helps adult cancer survivors reclaim their health and well-being following a cancer diagnosis.

According to the California Cancer Registry, an estimated 176,140 Californians were to be diagnosed with cancer in just the last calendar year alone. This is equivalent to nearly 20 new cases every hour, every day.

LIVESTRONG at the YMCA launched in San Diego in February 2016 and has served over 120 community members. Individuals served have demonstrated improvements in their level of physical activity, strength, flexibility and balance while reporting less fatigue and greater overall quality of life. With the generous support from the Anthem Blue Cross Foundation, the Y now has the structure in place to serve over 330 individuals this year, with plans for continued growth.

”As a non-profit, the YMCA strives to meet the needs of the community through programs that encourage people to be healthier,” said Shelly McTighe-Rippengale, Senior Vice President and Chief Development Officer. ”The LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program is a great example of this. We’re helping adults build supportive relationships, reducing stress and guiding them through safe physical activity, all leading to an improved quality of life.”

LIVESTRONG at the YMCA will be offered at the following YMCA of San Diego County locations in 2018:

The Y provides trained staff to help survivors achieve their personal health and wellness goals, while also offering a welcoming, family-friendly environment away from a clinical setting where community members can find support and connect with one another.

”I started LIVESTRONG at the YMCA eight weeks after my double mastectomy and during the first week of chemo - but I didn’t want to wait,” says Dana Sobotka, a LIVESTRONG at the YMCA graduate. ”There was a huge group of us, different ages, different fitness abilities, but the camaraderie was wonderful. The instructors were so great at tailoring to exactly what we needed. I know they go through a lot of training and it’s very evident. Also being mindful of the emotional journey that we were going through was absolutely invaluable.”

(Editor's note: Click for a video of Dana’s story).

LIVESTRONG at the YMCA participants are adults over the age of 18 who are living with or beyond cancer treatment. Participants have been diagnosed with various types of cancer at various stages. Any community member who meets these criteria and is committed to completing the 12 week program is welcome and encouraged to participate. Visit our our location page to find the program at the YMCA nearest you.

”The Anthem Blue Cross Foundation is committed to supporting programs that enhances the health and well-being of individuals and families in communities that we serve,” said Brian Ternan, president of commercial business at Anthem Blue Cross. ”That’s why we are proud to be able to partner with the LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program to help people learn valuable skills and receive the support they need to successfully beat cancer.”

About the YMCA of San Diego County

The YMCA of San Diego County is the second largest Y in the nation serving more than 400,000 San Diego County residents and employing more than 5,000 people. Through a variety of programs and services focused on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, the Y unites men, women and children - regardless of age, income or background - to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. The YMCA of San Diego County is dedicated to improving the quality of human life and to helping all people realize their fullest potential as children of God through the development of the spirit, mind and body. Visit www.ymcasd.org to find your local YMCA or call (858) 292-YMCA (9622).