Denise Harnish and Beca Stamp

CaRE group for website

Denise is pictured second from left and Beca is pictured third from right.

“Participating in CaRE is one of the best things I’ve done since finding out I had cancer,” explains Denise Harnish, a Fall 2013 participant in the Lancaster Family YMCA’s Cancer Rehabilitation Exercise (CaRE) program at the City Center branch. Denise, age 52, had never been a regular exerciser and was nervous about feeling comfortable and fitting in. She praises personal coach Valerie Petersheim for putting her and her fellow participants at ease, allowing her to quickly make connections among the group. In addition to the physical activity, Denise credits the camaraderie she felt with helping her to gain self-confidence and strength. While everyone’s path was unique, by sharing familiar experiences, such as depression following chemotherapy, she and others in the program felt connected and encouraged to tackle common challenges.

Denise’s classmate Beca Stamp agrees, sharing that “it was almost like a small sorority with the support we could offer each other.” Beca, who had a mastectomy fourteen years ago, sees herself as one of the lucky ones, who both benefitted from the group and could give back by offering encouragement and support. She also valued the adjustments that their personal coach Val made for each participant’s particular needs and abilities. Beca wasn’t able to do some of the leg exercises following a recent partial knee replacement, so relied on alternatives that worked best for her while also keeping up with the group.