After being diagnosed with breast cancer in May of 2018, Mary Unobsky sat in the waiting room of her medical oncologist and stared into space. She felt she had been to an “alternate universe” after being tested, poked, and prodded. There had been two operations, travels to the cancer center five times, and two months of radiation.

“I was trying to figure out my next move on the disease chessboard when I was approached by the nurse navigator who started telling me about this unique support group at the Green Hills Family YMCA," Mary said. "Reluctantly, I called the number on the After Breast Cancer program handbook.”

For survivors by survivors

The YMCA of Middle Tennessee offers a unique opportunity for survivors to find support through its After Breast Cancer (ABC) Program. This free, 16-week program was created for survivors by survivors to provide healing for the body, mind and spirit after a breast cancer diagnosis.

Affiliated with eight YMCA centers across Middle Tennessee, the ABC Program provides survivors the opportunity to exercise with a Pink-Ribbon certified personal trainer, receive nutrition education from a registered dietitian, be informed on lymphedema risk and prevention, and be emotionally supported through a curriculum-based small group titled “Journey to Wholeness.” In groups of four to eight, participants build relationships with fellow survivors and share their story with those who can personally understand the journey.

Mary's group renewed her strength.

“The group of ladies I encountered had all been through a similar process, so no cancer explanation was needed," she said. "We all carried the same struggles, the same little victories, the same pain, and the physical graffiti that was left on our bodies. And, yet, the camaraderie was instantaneous and provided a ‘feelings forum’ for all of us. Working out together and learning nutritional intel made us stronger and more in control."

Show your support

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the Y offers many opportunities for the community members to show their support.

All are invited to join our ABC community in the Komen More Than Pink Walk on October 26. Our team is looking forward to celebrating individual and collective milestones as breast cancer survivors. You can support a team member or sign up to walk with the Y. 

Our ABC programs across Middle Tennessee are also hosting a range of local events that offer opportunities for friends and neighbors to show their support:

Thriving in community

Breast Cancer affects all of us in one way or another, and we are stronger when we face it as a community. If you’re a survivor, you’re invited to come find support in the Y's After Breast Cancer program. And if you'd like to offer financial support so that more survivors can experience hope and healing together, contact the ABC program at a Y location near you.