“Oh, the souls you meet here,” remarked 29-year-old Meagan Funk when talking about the powerful connections she’s made with her fellow participants in the Y’s Cancer Rehabilitation Exercise (CaRE) Program. The social support she found through CaRE is precious to Meagan, who shares that “when what you have in common is a near death experience, it doesn’t take much small talk to establish a meaningful bond.” As the youngest member of her CaRE group, Meagan is also inspired by the positive energy and drive of her older friends and feels a lasting sense of peace in their company.
Meagan was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 25 and has since persevered through a number of surgeries and challenging rehabilitation, as she continues to battle the disease. She sees CaRE as “a beautiful and inspirational way for women and men to get up when they’re knocked down and learn how to fight again.” She’s encouraged by the physical transformation she’s experiencing as she regains her strength and stamina. Less winded by exercise now, Meagan looks forward to enjoying the beauty in nature, and walking and swimming around the rivers near her home.
For Meagan, strength is more than a physical goal. Emotional stresses are a part of her experience with cancer, and she works hard to find ways to cope and maintain a positive outlook. She’s grateful to Lampeter-Strasburg Y trainer and CaRE leader, Jane Keeler, who not only guides her through physical exercise, but has given her a shoulder to cry during low moments. She adds “Jane is so respectful but also not afraid to tell us to try more, do more, live more.” Eager to share her story, Meagan says “Often it helps just to talk about it, and I hope that sharing my experience might encourage others facing cancer to reach out to others and find their strength.”