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Personal Trainer Helps Cancer Survivors Build Confidence

RYE, N.Y. -- Sally Braid has two passions: fitness and oncology.

So, when she had the opportunity to lead low-level exercise classes for cancer survivors through the Rye YMCA’s LIVESTRONG program, the Rye resident said it was a “happy alignment” of her interests.

The program, which is open to patients undergoing treatment as well as those who have already completed treatment, includes two 75-minute classes each week. Braid, who started working as a personal trainer for LIVESTRONG this past May, said each session combines cardiovascular and strength training exercises and is tailored to each participant.

“The routine is a gradual progression from when they first come to us,” said Braid, who also is a spin instructor at the Rye YMCA. “Some people are newcomers to gyms and some aren’t, so we are also introducing them to the equipment.”

Before she came to the YMCA, Braid was an oncology nurse in her native country, England. She said she has always been interested in the physical and mental aspects of oncology, and is happy she can do her part in helping the patients she works with to regain their confidence after a shell-shocking diagnosis.

“It’s quite intense, moving, funny, happy and exhilarating to see each participant’s progress,” Braid said. “Sometimes they come in saying ‘I can’t do this,’ and then the next session you see them beginning to do it, and then they’re able to do it by the session after that.”

Braid said she is always inspired by her trainees, especially those who come ready to exercise despite grueling radiation and chemotherapy.

“When I’m working out now, I realize I have a tremendous gift of a healthy body,” she said. “When I work with them, I know they can do it, and it makes me push them a little harder.”

To find out more about the LIVESTRONG program at the Rye YMCA, click here .

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