The Power of Community
It’s the people in our lives that make life more interesting, fun and ultimately meaningful.
I was reminded of this truth recently as a group of colleagues joined together for our annual spring picnic. The air was thick with the smell of a charcoal grill, the sun was shining and of course, we played good ol’ fashioned team-building games. The team favorite was the egg toss. You know, when two people toss an egg back and forth, all while stepping farther away from each other to create more distance between themselves. Who doesn’t love a game where someone has an egg break on them? We started with approximately 12 teams (24 people). As teams were eliminated from the competition, I loved watching how they would turn their attention to cheering on the remaining teams. And as one of the final three teams in the competition, I benefited and appreciated the spirit and cheering from my fellow colleagues.
While my picnic experience may seem insignificant, I believe it demonstrates the power of community in our lives. Community is one of the main reasons that LIVESTRONG exists. We seek to serve cancer survivors and their communities while working toward, and pushing for, overall system change. I like to think of our mission as three concentric circles — serving individuals, building and engaging communities and changing systems.
LIVESTRONG has a community-based program called LIVESTRONG at the YMCA, which is currently available in over 450 locations across the U.S. The individuals that participate in this 12-week program are truly inspiring. They are fighting to regain their physical strength in a healthy and sustainable cohort format, engaging with certified personal trainers and other survivors.
Here is a note from Mindy, a survivor, who recently completed the LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program:
“Lots of Hugs, Tears and exchanges of emails from seven cancer survivors and two trainers who finished a 100% free, twice a week, 12-week LIVESTRONG Program at the YMCA.
I don’t think any of us had any idea how much better we could/would feel at the end of it. People of all different abilities affected by cancer …
… This program was incredible for all of us, I can’t imagine nationwide the difference it makes. I really had no idea I could feel this good or this strong. Our little group of seven has plans to continue to meet up and support each other multiple ways.”
Because of all of the survivors I’ve met and based upon our mission of building and engaging communities, my colleague Helen (a cancer survivor) were inspired to join with 10 others on Team LIVESTRONG to participate in a 200-mile relay race on April 15–16 called Ragnar. While each individual on the team has personal reasons for participating, our community purpose is to raise awareness and support for LIVESTRONG’s mission to improve the lives of people affected by cancer now. Hopefully the end result will be that more survivors, like Mindy, benefit from programs like LIVESTRONG at the YMCA.
As a team, we would love to dedicate a mile of the race to a cancer survivor in your life. Please comment below with your survivor story. We will carry the names and stories with us as we run 25+ hours through Central Texas. I’m confident that the power of community will proudly carry us all the way to the finish line, where we will collectively proclaim, “LIVESTRONG!”