When Audrey Smith-Bey found out she had uterine cancer in 2016 she was shaken by the diagnosis. A few months after her surgery, she found the LIVESTRONG at the YMCA. This free 12-week exercise program creates a welcoming community in which cancer survivors can improve their quality of life through physical activity and emotional support.
Audrey signed up for the program but was apprehensive about starting a physical regiment at her age. Her fears were soon put to rest as facilitators encouraged and believed in her. “I was getting stronger, and I could speak freely with other people who understood what I was
These days, Audrey continues to exercise and challenge herself physically. She works out at the Middletown Family Y most days, but on Tuesdays and Thursdays, she wears her yellow Livestrong shirt in solidarity with current participants. She also volunteers her vocal gifts. Understanding how vulnerable it is to open yourself to the experience, Audrey uses song to welcome a new group into the Livestrong fold. When she sang James Taylor’s “You’ve Got a Friend,” at the start of the first session, those assembled cried. For Audrey, it was all about fostering a connection. “These people are my family.”