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Winship Cancer Institute, YMCA of Metro Atlanta team up for Winship at the Y

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Catherine Williams
Emory University
Kristen Obaranec
YMCA of Metro Atlanta

Through a collaboration unlike any in the country, cancer survivors will have access to special exercise assistance tailored for cancer survivors. 

Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University and the YMCA of Metro Atlanta are teaming up to offer a special exercise program for cancer survivors. Called "Winship at the Y," the program aims to help survivors maintain and improve their overall state of wellness during and after treatment and lower their risk of recurrence.   

Through a collaboration unlike any in the country, cancer survivors will have access to special exercise assistance tailored for cancer survivors.  The program is open to all cancer survivors regardless of where they have been treated. "Winship at the Y" will be in place at seven local YMCAs.   

Survivors also will have free access, as do all Y members, to the unique Coach Approach®, an exercise support process in which a wellness coach helps a person stay on track with an individualized physical activity program.  

"Winship at the Y" was the brainchild of Joan Giblin, a family nurse practitioner and director of Winship's Survivorship Program. The YMCA of Metro Atlanta quickly endorsed the idea because of its emphasis on -- and decades-long success in -- building community and healthy families.

"This is important because we have so many cancer survivors, and we want to help them return to and maintain the best state of wellness that we can," said Giblin.  

 "By combining Winship's premier research and treatment center with the Y's accessible, community-based support centers throughout metro Atlanta, we believe cancer survivors will maintain and improve their quality of life and restore hope. Research shows exercise plays a vital role in helping cancer survivors feel better and more in control of their health," said Ed Munster, president and CEO of the YMCA of Metro Atlanta.  

The National Cancer Institute defines a "survivor" as a person with cancer from the day of diagnosis going forward.  

With almost 12 million cancer survivors in the United States in 2012 and 20 million predicted by 2020, survivorship has become a key area of concern.  

Winship, Georgia's only NCI-designated cancer treatment facility, began a comprehensive Survivorship Program in 2011 in response to the growing needs and numbers of survivors.  

While these programs have been successful, Giblin wanted to take the program into the communities, where people live, rather than asking patients and families to come to the Emory campuses. The Y was the natural choice, Giblin said, with its track record of fostering strong families and helping to strengthen communities.  

Winship staff including nurse practitioners, physician assistants, lymphedema specialists, social workers and dieticians will conduct cancer survivorship training at the YMCA for coaches and staff who will be involved with the new program.  

About the YMCA

The Y is a powerful association of men, women and children joined together by a shared commitment to nurturing the potential of kids, promoting healthy living and fostering a sense of social responsibility. Every day, we work side-by-side with our neighbors to make sure everyone, regardless of age, income or background, has the opportunity to learn grow and connect. Visit or call 404-588-YMCA (9622).

About Winship’s Survivorship and Supportive Care

Learn more about Winship Survivorship and Supportive Care services as well as “Winship at the Y” by visiting the Winship website at or by emailing Joan Giblin

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