The Community Champion Award recognizes individuals or groups whose engagement and leadership positively impact individuals, and their families in the LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program. This year, the Hockomock YMCA honored Dr. Natalie Sinclair with the award. Dr. Sinclair and her team at Dana Faber Brigham and Women’s in Milford have been instrumental in the growth of the LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program by referring her patients to the program and supporting them throughout the entire program.
YMCA program instructor and LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program alumna Judy Ammidown presented the award to Dr. Sinclair and said, “Dr. Sinclair I want to thank you for all that you do for us on the cancer journey. For recognizing the value that LIVESTRONG at the YMCA can have for your patients as we work through that chaos that follows the cancer diagnosis.” Dr. Sinclair was not able to attend the event.
Milford Regional Medical Center President & CEO Ed Kelly accepted the award on her behalf and shared prepared remarks from Dr. Sinclair, “This award is for all of my patients. Cancer cannot take your hope, your courage, or your strength away. I salute you.”
The Charlie Shannon Volunteer Award recognizes a LIVESTRONG at the YMCA volunteer whose commitment, dedication, passion, and leadership helps the participant’s progress through the program and reach their goals. This year’s award was given to John White. John worked in the biotechnology field for many years and worked on cancer research and potential treatments during this time. He is also a cancer survivor himself. John provides his valuable life experiences to the program participants and gives them a relatable figure because he has gone through the same things they have.
Jackie Robison, YMCA staff member and LIVESTRONG program coordinator, presented the award to John, a North Attleboro resident, and said, “John made deep connections. He encouraged his fellow participants, gave them an ear when they needed to be heard, and at times made them laugh. John is an optimist who brought his inspiration, compassion, and, most importantly, hope to the participants.” John spoke on how his experience in the field helped him be a mentor and said, “I was offered an opportunity to mentor others and provide valuable resources and support from my years in biotechnology and connections in the pipeline to some of the most advanced research being done in targeted therapies.”
Following the presentation of the awards, Marsea McGonagle gave a testimonial on the LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program and what it has meant to her and her family. Marsea is the sister of Stephanie Whooten, an alumna of the program and a Franklin resident who passed away in September 2018 after an 18 month battle with colon cancer. Marsea spoke on what the program meant to her sister and how much it impacted her and her family. She said, “As Steph’s family, we are so proud that Steph left her mark on the LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program, but it also left its mark on her.
In just those 12 weeks, something magical happened between those four walls. Steph felt the power of the program so much that when she entered hospice this past July and she wrote her will, she designated a percentage of her estate to go to the Franklin Y’s LIVESTRONG program. Approaching death at just 27 years old, it was the next cancer fighter in her neighborhood that she was thinking about.”
The evening also included a check presentation from Golf Fights Cancer, a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting cancer, to the LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program. Golf Fights Cancer sponsored Jackie Robison, the Y’s LIVESTRONG Program Coordinator, in the Boston Marathon. Jackie raised over $10,000 for the race and Golf Fights Cancer donated the money back to the LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program. Cheryl McGuire, Executive Director of Golf Fights Cancer, spoke about Jackie’s fundraising efforts and said, “Golf Fights Cancer is honored to have you as part of our 2019 team and we are thrilled to be able to empower you to raise the funds to give right back to the LIVESTRONG program.”
LIVESTRONG at the YMCA classes will enroll this Fall beginning in early September at Hockomock Area YMCA branches in Foxboro, Franklin and North Attleboro. This is a free 12-week program designed for cancer survivors and their families seeking to regain health, build strength, and connect with other cancer survivors.For more information, visit www.hockymca.org/new-livestrong-classes or contact Jackie Robison at 508-772-1310.
About the LIVESTRONG AT THE YMCA program at the Hockomock Area YMCA:
This program fulfills the important need of the increasing number of cancer survivors who find themselves in the transitional period between completing their cancer treatment and the shift to feeling physically and emotionally strong enough to attempt to return to their normal life. The fact that the program is outside a medical facility and integrated into the community serves to emphasize that LIVESTRONG at the YMCA is about health, not about disease.
About Hockomock Area YMCA:
Where Cause Meets Community. At the Hockomock Area YMCA, strengthening community is our cause. The Hockomock Area YMCA is an organization of men, women, and children sharing a commitment to nurture the potential of kids, promote healthy living, and foster a sense of social responsibility.
The Hockomock Area YMCA is committed to partnering and collaborating with others to create and deliver lasting personal and social change in the 15 communities they are privileged to serve. The Hockomock Area YMCA is a not-for-profit charitable cause-driven organization with facilities in North Attleboro, Foxboro, Franklin, and Mansfield. For more information visit hockymca.org.