A diagnosis of breast cancer at any age can be frightening and stressful, but for younger women, learning you have breast cancer can be especially devastating. The Young Survivors in Action (YSIA) program through Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition (DBCC) is designed to help people between the ages of 20 and 40 who have been diagnosed with the disease.
“We have one goal, to focus on our survivors holistically,” Stephanie Cumella, manager of the program, said. “YSIA includes educational, support and networking options designed to address the whole person. The program is designed to assist physically, mentally and emotionally.”
Cumella explained that the word “young” can be subjective, but this program focuses on people in their 20s, 30s and 40s who are breast cancer survivors. A young survivor may also be someone who was diagnosed with cancer at a young age and has continued to thrive as they are inspirations to those who were recently diagnosed. However, Cumella also stated that someone who is young at heart and has survived breast cancer is welcome to join.
“When we talk about holistic wellness, it is an approach to being healthy that looks at whole body health and not just on the cancer,” Cumella said. “All the events and workshops are designed to assist with emotional, spiritual and social well-being.”
One of the newest programs offered through YSIA is Yogalates, a combination of yoga and Pilates which is perfect for cancer survivors.
“This program is more mindful than fast-paced,” Cumella said. “We incorporate poses that are held for five breaths each and incorporate Pilates, which focuses on core muscles, total body conditioning and helps improve posture. It has also been proven to increase flexibility and strength. Modifications are provided for all levels and you can even use mats, blocks, pillows and blankets to make it more comfortable.”
Yogalates is planned for July 11, August 8 and September 12 from 6:00 to 7:00 PM. To register, visit https://www.facebook.com/YoungSurvivorsinAction/, like the livestream and join the program. Once the livestream is liked, those interested can join live or save the program for a more convenient time.
YSIA offers Healing Meditation which assists with lifting a low mood, letting go and focusing as well as improving intuition and keeping life in balance. Research indicates that regular meditation reduces anxiety, provides relief for physical problems that may be caused by stress, increases calm feelings and offers a sense of self-worth. The program is offered monthly and the with programs planned for June 28, July 26, August 23 and September 27 from 5:30 to 6:00 PM. To register, visit https://www.facebook.com/YoungSurvivorsinAction/, like the livestream and join the program. Once the livestream is liked, those interested can join live or save the program for a more convenient time.
“We also offer FUNctional Fitness,” Cumella said. “This is a monthly exercise class hosted virtually. No equipment is required and it is suitable for any fitness level. You will strengthen and stabilize your body for everyday activities. It is a fun, half hour class offered right at lunchtime.”
FUNctional Fitness classes are planned for July 21, August 18 and September 15 from 11:30 to 12 Noon. To join, visit https://www.facebook.com/YoungSurvivorsinAction/, like the livestream and either join live or save the program for a later time that is more convenient.
“I was elated when I learned I would be joining the Young Survivors in Action team,” Cumella, who was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer and also carries the BRCA1 gene, said. “I remember how difficult and sometimes daunting times could be after my own breast cancer diagnosis, especially as a mom with younger children. I am passionate about living life to the fullest, and I look forward to spreading joy, inner peace, inspiration, strength and some fun to those who have also been diagnosed at a young age, all while #moving forward with my fellow young survivors in action.”
Cumella is not the only participant who has benefited from the holistic approach of YSIA.
“YSIA helped me through the camaraderie,” another participant said. “It was so refreshing to meet local women near my age who went through what I went through.”
Cumella suggests anyone interested in learning more about YSIA follow their social media at https://www.facebook.com/YoungSurvivorsinAction/ or https://www.instagram.com/deyoungsurvivors/. They can also visit https://debreastcancer.org/programs/young-survivors-in-action/.
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