NEWBURYPORT — The YWCA Greater Newburyport has been awarded a $12,000 grant from The Women’s Fund of Essex County, a field of interest fund of Essex County Community Foundation.
The grant was given to support the YWCA’s encoreplus program, which is a program offered free of charge to women who’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer at any point in their lives, aimed at helping them regain their physical and emotional strength after diagnosis and surgery.
Breast cancer afflicts all women differently, but there are challenges inherent in the disease that affect all survivors. Where traditional medicine leaves off in its treatment of breast cancer, the encoreplus program begins.
According to YWCA Wellness director Ilene Harnch-Grady, the program is attuned to survivors looking to re-establish their range of motion after surgery, rebuild or establish better strength and conditioning, and address the emotional and psychological aspects of healing that aren’t addressed in a patient’s treatment plan.
The free, 12-week program features strength and conditioning classes on land and in the warm water pool, with instructors especially trained through the YWCA Encore training network, and in a peer environment that promotes camaraderie and optimal healing.
“They come in a little fearful because they’re post-surgery and they’re worried about pain,” said Grady of the Encore Program in a press release. “Some of them have had several bouts of cancer and haven’t been active, so they don’t really know what their ability is. Through a lot of discussion, we help them push through and find the confidence to really try. They leave us so much more empowered and strong that they can, in fact, be healthy and active individuals.”
With the gift from the Women’s Fund of Essex County, the YWCA Greater Newburyport will seek to expand programming and outreach, and launch additional off-site programs to help a greater number of survivors.