Last day to vote for YMCA’s bid to receive LIVESTRONG funding

Time is running out.

According to Marketing and Grant Coordinator Kim Slocum, the Warren County YMCA has already been selected to receive approximately “$2,500 or $3,500”, but is also a finalist, through the LIVESTRONG YMCA program, for additional funding through the LIVESTRONG Foundation’s Community Impact Project.

The final selection doesn’t lie with LIVESTRONG though; it’s being decided by public vote and time is running out. Voting at livestrong.org for the additional grant funding ends today, March 28.

The YMCA will be using the funding for late-stage cancer treatment patient programs.

The YMCA is using initial funding to train staff to run exercise programs aimed at transitioning from the hospital to the community, but according to staff, that’s just a starting point.

“It’s just a program to start bridging the gap between treatment and wellness,” YMCA Wellness Director Chris Dolan said. “This grant is specific to exercise, but from there we can go out and build in so many directions.”

Dolan noted the YMCA may need to make new equipment purchases once programs are underway.

“It’s our hope to have the ‘Y’ become a place for patients at the end of their care to go and help with recovery,” Slocum said. “We’re just thrilled to do a program that we wouldn’t be able to do. It’s helping people coming back to their new normal.”

The two said, in the future, they hope to expand programs to include activities such as painting classes.

Dolan said she hopes funding can provide programming everyone can afford.

“I want cost to not be a problem,” Dolan said. “I want it not to be an issue. That’s one thing that’s different about the ‘Y’, we won’t turn people away based on ability to pay.”

Dolan also said YMCA is looking for instructors for the programs.

“We’ll train them,” Dolan said, “even cancer survivors, even how to teach.”

To represent the program, the YMCA has selected someone who knows what it’s like to be a cancer survivor, Chris Kintner.

Kintner volunteers at the YMCA, but she’s also a 30-year cancer survivor who has undergone an arm amputation due to long-term radiation effects. She still faces the effects of her illness, as she suffers from leg maladies.

“I’ve been through the gamut,” Kintner said.

Kintner said she hopes her experiences can help other cancer patients through their own recoveries.

“Having cancer, you just feel awful some days,” Kintner said. “Just knowing you have a place to go and something to do just getting out around people helps. (It helps) just getting out in an environment besides the hospital. We’re hoping they can feel better just by getting out and getting some exercise. It’s getting out with the public and getting a chance to be around people and, kind of, keeping you going. They’re wonderful people down here.”

“Chris is, kind of, the face of surviving cancer,” Slocum added. “It helps to have someone who’s been through it. She’s an amazing person.”

To vote, go to vote.livestrong.org, scroll over the “Make a Difference in Your Community Vote Now” image and click on the region highlighting Pennsylvania. This will take you to a screen with four different organizations to vote for. The organization with the most votes after March 28 will receive additional funding through LIVESTRONG.