There are more than 14.5 million cancer survivors in the United States today, and the LIVESTRONG Foundation is always looking for new ways to improve access to our navigation services. Last month we launched a “text to connect” pilot project at select YMCA locations that offer the LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program.
A little background on LIVESTRONG at the YMCA:
The physical, emotional, and financial side effects of a diagnosis are significant and often long-lasting, which is why LIVESTRONG partnered with YMCA of the USA in 2007 to create a unique program to address the needs of cancer survivors. “LIVESTRONG at the YMCA” is an evidence-based small group, 12 week exercise program available to cancer survivors to help them improve physical fitness, emotional health, and overall quality of life. The LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program has been shown to help survivors significantly increase their cardiovascular endurance and improve their overall quality of life. In addition, participation in the program helps survivors meet or exceed the amount of physical activity recommended by the American Cancer Society and the American College of Sports Medicine(1). To date, the program has served nearly 37,000 survivors and is currently offered at 478 YMCAs across the country.
The Eli Lilly Text to Connect Pilot:
The LIVESTRONG Foundation, in partnership with Eli Lilly and select YMCA sites, is currently testing the use of a SMS (text) platform to increase access to LIVESTRONG cancer navigation services. Participants are invited to text a code word to a designated number. Once basic information is provided, a cancer navigator will follow up with a phone call in three business days to offer support. We hope that this new, easier, and quicker process will reduce barriers for cancer survivors and others to access important resources. Stay tuned for more information about the project in the coming months and whether it will be expanded to other LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program sites.
(1.)Irwin et al. Impact of the LIVESTRONG at the YMCA Program on physical activity, fitness, and quality of life in cancer survivors. J Clin Oncol 33, 2015 (suppl; abstr 9508).