Watertown YMCA Offers Free Membership to Breast Cancer Survivors and Their Families | WWTI

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WATERTOWN, NY (WWTI) – Breast cancer survivors and their families now have a new way to ‘get their health back’ in the community of Watertown.

The Watertown Family YMCA just received a grant from the Saint Agatha Foundation which helps provide financial assistance to those affected by breast cancer in central New York City. With this new funding, the YMCA is now offering free membership to local survivors and their families.

The program in Watertown is called “Laurie’s Light” because the Sainte Agathe Foundation was founded in honor of Laurie Mezzalingua, a breast cancer patient who died after a 12-year battle.

Local survivors who have been diagnosed in the past three years are now eligible for one year of free membership, along with their family members, which includes one year of free programming for children.

According to Senior Director of Health and Wellness Michelle Graham, this will allow families to continue on the road to recovery together.

“It’s really, really about being positive and embracing this journey of the whole person,” Graham said. And their families embrace complete health and wellness here at the YMCA, and can truly participate in whatever we offer. “

Graham also runs the Live Strong program at the YMCA, a free 12-week program open to all cancer patients and survivors. It includes physical activities, support groups, guest speakers and more.

The YMCA of Watertown also once again hosts the Northern Cancer Support Group, which will meet every third Thursday. It officially restarted on October 21 after a long hiatus due to COVID-19 issues.

Graham said running these programs touches her personally because her husband is a cancer survivor. She said these opportunities, combined with free membership, are the YMCA’s multidimensional approach to supporting survivors and building a positive community.

“It’s multifaceted. It’s always engaging, and of course we want it to be super positive, ”she added. “We’re thrilled to be in this space and thrilled to be able to offer this to our community as a whole. We can’t wait to really see where things go with this.

Those interested in the YMCA of Watertown’s Laurie’s Light program can call Michelle Graham at 315-782-3100.


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