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'Together we can' breakfast celebrates women's health

Posted by Christina Jedra  March 5, 2013 10:00 AM

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Marcia Elliot works out with her trainer Theresa Walsh

Photo: Hallmark Health marketing department

The following was submitted by the YMCA of Greater Boston:

Breast cancer is a scary and overwhelming experience. 

In June 2012, not realizing it had been nine years since her last mammogram, 68-year-old mother and grandmother, Marcia Elliott, went for the routine test at Hallmark Health System (HHS) and the scan showed abnormalities. 

Once doctors determined she had breast cancer, Elliott immediately saw a specialist in breast surgery at HHS to discuss her treatment plan. Since being diagnosed, Elliott has had two surgeries, a lumpectomy, as well as removal of lymph nodes and pre-cancerous cells. She recently completed lymphedema therapy and began six weeks of radiation treatment.

Coupled with her medical treatment, HHS also recommended that Elliot enroll in the YMCA of Greater Boston’s Pink program designed to help women exercise safely while enhancing their overall health, whether they are in the midst of breast cancer treatment or years beyond it. 

The Pink program is a safe, effective 12-week breast cancer recovery program that provides four simple, yet powerful workouts tailored to the challenges that follow breast cancer and reconstructive surgeries. The program is adapted for all fitness levels and thanks to the community support through the Y’s Annual Fund and corporate sponsorships, the program is currently offered at no charge to participants. The Pink Maintenance program is also available to those who wish to continue to achieve health and wellness while in remission. 

“I am fortunate that my cancer was caught in its early stages and that I received the wrap around care from experts at Hallmark Health System and the YMCA,” said Elliot. “Thanks to my workout routine at the Y, I’ve been able to maintain my range of motion and I am also getting stronger. It’s also nice to talk to other women about what you are going through who can relate. I’ve made some really great friends through the Pink program.” 

Solid research shows that the right blend of exercise can lower the odds of breast cancer recurrence, boost energy and strength, restore ease in performing daily tasks and enhance quality of life and overall health. The Pink program meets twice a week at the YMCA of Greater Boston’s Burbank branch, and is taught by staff members Theresa Walsh and Trish Marfione who are certified instructors. 

On Wednesday, February 27, at the Burbank YMCA, Elliot will share her inspirational story in front of more than 60 patrons as the community rallies together to celebrate the success of the Pink program and Pink maintenance program, through the “Together We Can” breakfast. 

The breakfast will be held from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at the Burbank YMCA, 36 Arthur B Lord Dr., Reading, Mass. Local political leaders, major donors and program participants will be in attendance, including Michael Sak, FACHE, CEO and president of Hallmark Health System who will deliver the keynote address. Hallmark Health partnered with the Burbank Y to sponsor the program and refers its patients. Lumina Salon in Reading is also a sponsor and supporter.

“The YMCA is about more than camp, child care and super fit bodies -- we are also about helping our patrons recover from illness and return to health,” said Irene Collins, executive director of the Burbank YMCA. “As we approached Women’s Health month, we thought this was the perfect time to shine light on this effective program and highlight it’s impact in our community. These women are friends outside of the Y. They create meet-ups on their own and work out together in their Pink program T-shirts. It’s wonderful to see our resident Pink Ladies lean on one another for support as they heal.” 

The Pink program currently has nine participants, and Pink Maintenance has 11. The new session of Pink begins April 8 and runs until July 1. For questions, to learn how to enroll or for more information, contact Burbank Y Health & Wellness Director Joanne Waterhouse, at (781) 944-9622 ext. 230.

About the YMCA of Greater Boston: 
The YMCA of Greater Boston is the state’s leading nonprofit committed to strengthening communities.  Every day the Y works with thousands of men, women and children to make sure that everyone, regardless of age, income or background, has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. With 13 branches in and around Boston, the Y partners with 250 organizations to meet unique needs of the communities it serves. The Y is committed to youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility.


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