Life after cancer isn’t the same as it was before.
Receiving a cancer diagnosis can feel lonely and stressful, but it can show you the beautiful sides of humanity because there are myriad people who reach out to those with cancer.
Lori Cacciatore can attest to this. Last year, she was diagnosed with endometrial serous carcinoma, cancer in the uterus.
To treat cancer, Lori had a hysterectomy at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center and chemotherapy and radiation at Lahey Medical Center, Peabody. As a patient, she was directed to the Corner Stone program.
The Corner Stone program, sponsored by Lahey Health, started in October 2018 and currently has more than 1,000 members throughout seven YMCA locations on the North Shore. Lori’s a member in Ipswich.
In the program, cancer patients and their families are given a one-year family membership. In addition to full access to all the standard benefits YMCA members enjoy, patients in Corner Stone have access to dedicated exercise meet-up groups, a complimentary week of summer camp for their children, drop-off childcare if they have doctor’s appointments and educational events.
“Working out is so good for you and this program is great because you meet people who are in your situation,” Lori said of Corner Stone. “You see the same faces every week, and you know you’re all going through the same thing.”
Upon enrolling, patients meet with a physical trainer. There are some individuals who can handle a more rigorous exercise program and those who need less strain. The trainer is here to help craft an individualized plan for each person. There are also lectures to take advantage of, such as a recent one on the benefits of a plant-based diet.
Through a triennial community health needs assessment, Beverly Hospital knows cancer is a pressing health need. To address this need in a community setting, Beverly and Addison Gilbert Hospitals partnered with the YMCA to support the Corner Stone program.
“Connecting patients to exercise and wellness services is an important extension of their care,” said Karin Lappenin, Nurse Manager for Cancer Services at Beverly and Addison Gilbert Hospitals.
Beverly Hospital and Addison Gilbert Hospital have a long-standing partnership with the YMCA and work collaboratively to increase access to health and wellness programs.
“Our Y is committed to helping families who come to us in need of programs and services as well as reaching into our community and looking for those who may not even know we are a community resource for them,” said Chris Lovasco, CEO of the North Shore YMCA. “Corner Stone is a great example of a program that allows this type of outreach, promotes the power of community collaboration, and stays true to our 160-year history of helping people build healthy minds, bodies and spirits.”
Through Corner Stone, Lori has made friends who can discuss, and relate to, the side effects of cancer treatment. They know exactly what she’s going through.
People in the program develop close-knit friendships through a shared struggle, said Sarah Picard, Director of Health Innovations at the YMCA of the North Shore.
“They feel like they have a place to come and build a community,” she said. “It’s a great program to be part of.”