South Shore YMCA Launches Staystrong Community Cancer Support Initiative

Posted: Jun. 03, 2019 Learn more

The South Shore YMCA is proud to announce the launch of Staystrong, its new, collaborative community cancer support program providing essential daily living support to cancer patients, cancer survivors, their household family members and caregivers.

Unlike traditional cancer support programs that focus on helping the individual deal directly with clinical care, the Staystrong program offers a unique, community-based approach to help cancer patients manage and improve their everyday personal lives and family responsibilities through the extended services and expertise of the YMCA, a leader in community integrated health.

Built to encompass the entire family, Staystrong participants will have free access to YMCA-sponsored health and wellness resources, programs and support to help them face the overwhelming challenges of a cancer diagnosis. The initiative also includes free membership to all South Shore YMCA locations, a complimentary week of summer camp for children enrolled in the program, and free, onsite drop-in babysitting for parents who are currently in treatment.

“When it comes to cancer treatment, much of the focus is on medical and clinical care, and we are fortunate to have access to some of the greatest treatment centers in the world right here in our backyard,” said Paul Gorman, President and CEO, South Shore YMCA. “Unfortunately, not enough has been defined on the broad topic of ongoing survivorship once outside of the hospital. The South Shore Y recognizes that while science has made tremendous strides in cancer research and treatments, there is still more to be done beyond the clinical environment when it comes to caring for the patient and their family.”

The year-long Y program is available at no cost to anyone who has undergone cancer diagnosis and/or treatment within the past 12 months. And because the diagnosis of cancer does not solely affect the person who is fighting the disease, a distinctive feature of Staystrong is that it extends beyond the patient to include each of their household family members and caregivers as they navigate through this challenging chapter of their lives together.

“The Staystrong program offers something very unique to the community and to patients that they can’t get at the hospital or at a cancer treatment center,” said RN program coordinator Kerri Clancy. “It offers a common place where they can gather together to heal holistically alongside other cancer patients, survivors and families in similar circumstances.”

From special access to the SSYMCA Germantown Food Pantry, to a free week of summer day camp for children whose parents are going through cancer treatment, a suite of tailored programs and resources is available to Staystrong participants upon their joining the program. Families can even get together with other families at a dedicated Staystrong Family Overnight Camping Weekend at the Y’s Camp Burgess & Hayward. The services included within Staystrong also extend beyond the Y’s walls, reaching into the community via collaborative relationships with educators, professionals and partners, each available to help with questions on topics including but not limited to: finance, insurance, nutrition, fitness, faith and spirituality.

“For me, not having to worry about where you’re dropping off your kids so that you can help heal your mind and your body is crucial,” said cancer survivor Kelly Cassier. “It’s so important that Staystrong goes beyond thinking about the patient. Children and family members are included in Staystrong so that they, too, can have a safe place to unwind, play and be a part of a community that extends far beyond the support and care of our immediate family.”

The Staystrong logo was designed as a pyramid – the strong, triangular structure serving as a nod to the cancer survivor’s strength and resilience. The logo’s center represents the cancer patient or survivor, wrapped in the combined support of (1) the Y community, (2) their family and caregivers, and (3) the expertise of the medical community – all working together to help people rebuild their lives in spirit, mind and body.

“Staystrong helps patients to regain their confidence and connect with their peers in a non-clinical setting, and easily access resources to alleviate the burden of day-to-day activities that can become challenging when working through cancer treatments,” said Katelyn Szafir, Director of Medical Wellness, South Shore YMCA. “When it comes to facing cancer, the person battling the disease can become overwhelmed, struggling to keep their daily life together. Staystrong will offer so much more to participants than what meets the eye. It will give them strength, motivation, and a greater sense of belonging.”

Guided by its mission statement, “The Better You Belongs Here,” the South Shore YMCA seeks to give each person a place to truly belong. “The Y recognizes that it truly takes a community to strengthen each cancer patient’s fight,” said Gorman. “It is our hope that with Staystrong at the Y, we can work together to help thousands of people on the South Shore as they overcome the obstacles they face throughout cancer treatment and recovery and reclaim their lives with renewed hope and strength in spirit, mind and body.”

Thanks to the generous support of donors, Staystrong is offered at no cost to participants. To help the South Shore YMCA raise the essential funds needed to offer Staystrong to as many cancer survivors as possible, donate in honor or memory of someone you know who has been affected by cancer.

To learn more about Staystrong or to donate or volunteer to help with the program, visit For questions, please contact Katelyn Szafir, Director of Medical Wellness, South Shore YMCA at


About the South Shore YMCA

The South Shore YMCA is a not-for-profit association of individuals dedicated to improving the quality of life for all through programs that promote healthy spirit, mind, and body. Serving the communities of Quincy, Randolph, Holbrook, Weymouth, Braintree, Milton, Hingham, Hull, Cohasset, Scituate, Norwell, Hanover and beyond, the South Shore Y provides the opportunity to grow, learn, and thrive through its services and programs. Financial Assistance is a Y community benefit available to all families in need, applicable to all Y programs and services. To learn more about the South Shore YMCA, visit The South Shore YMCA. The Better You Belongs Here.