Livestrong gives cancer survivors workout, ‘free space’

By The Active Age | March 1, 2024

Trainer Joyce Urban works with Rachel Wingfield.

Rachel Wingfield knew she needed to get back to exercise after cancer and chemotherapy, but it wasn’t easy.

“I’d been doing nothing but sitting in my chair,” she said.

Not anymore. She’s taking part in Livestrong, a free 12-week program offered to cancer survivors. It’s led by trainers with the Greater Wichita YMCA, but a Y membership is not required.

The program is designed to improve strength, stamina, flexibility and functional abilities.

Before a recent session at the West Y, Wingfield smiled and said trainer Joyce Urban “kicked our butts last Tuesday.”

In addition to exercise, there’s a “community” period after. “That’s when they’re really bonding,” program director Debbie Cruz said. “That’s what the heart of this program is. You have that free space.”

Another participant, Trisha Stevenson, said being part of a group helps her stay motivated.

“It’s easy to say ‘I’m tired,’” she said, adding that the program “is really helping me” with the side effects of chemotherapy.

Cruz said the program is open to people with any kind of cancer. Generally, she recommends that people wait until they are in remission.

The program is held at several different Ys each month, including those in Newton and El Dorado. There are also alumni groups.

For information about the program, visit or call Debbie Cruz at (316) 776-8178.