Xan M.

Haselwood Family YMCA

Like so many people, Xan liked being a member of the Y, but didn't consider it to be her community. It wasn't until the most difficult time of her life that she discovered that this place, this community, was what she needed all along.

Xan first joined the Y after the birth of her son Kellan, in hopes of getting back to her old self. The Y provided a care center for her infant son that was easily accessible and affordable, which she really appreciated. Unfortunately, her journey to physical fitness was cut short after she was diagnosed with stage-2 breast cancer just four days before her son’s first birthday. The doctors told her that she would need to stay away from heavily populated places during her treatment, due to her compromised immune system. Xan took her doctor’s advice but fully intended to return to the Y once she was recovered.

Being diagnosed with cancer brings all kinds of fears, doubts, and struggles. Trying to convince yourself and loved ones that you are okay when deep down you are not. Realizing that at this moment you are not able to do the things that you have been so accustomed to doing every day is gut-wrenching. Coming to grips with not knowing if the treatment is working. Feeling alone and depressed as you battle the disease. Xan felt like a burden on others and didn't want to worry her friends and family with her doubts and fears.

That's when she discovered LIVESTRONG at the YMCA. After the first session of the program, which provides support for cancer patients and survivors, she wasn't sure if it would be right for her. There was a large age difference between Xan and the other participants and she worried the others wouldn't understand how a cancer diagnosis at such a young age affected her. She was also concerned that the workouts wouldn't be challenging enough.

Slowly, as she began to open up, she realized that the other members of her group did understand and were the perfect people to help her start down the path to recovery. Everyone is fighting the same battles no matter their age, she learned. strong support team Xan was also humbled by the workouts; not realizing how much work she needed to do after treatment to rebuild her strength

Eventually, Xan's relationships in the program became friendships and the feeling of depression changed to optimism. Xan feel confident and inspired to give back to her community. Now cancer-free, Xan volunteers with the LIVESTRONG program. Through LIVESTRONG, she found strength she didn't know she had and gained a community she didn’t know she needed. She urges anyone thinking of joining the Y to be open-minded about what the Y has to offer.

"You have to experience it for yourself, don’t make assumptions get the facts," says Xan. "It might surprise you; this might be the thing that could change your life."

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