After three years of trying, the YMCA of York County has secured a grant and a partnership with the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

The $3,500 grant amount may seem small, but it's enough to start a free 12-week cancer survivor program at the YMCA York branch, 90 N. Newberry St. in York City.

The program, called Livestrong at the YMCA, begins Nov. 12 and will run through Jan. 28. The program focuses on exercise and fitness training to improve cancer survivors' strength and range of motion.

The program will serve adult survivors ages 18 and up. They will meet for 90 minutes twice a week, said Cori Strathmeyer, the Y's wellness director.

There also will be social and support group activities to encourage participants to continue the program, she said.

"People who exercise during cancer treatment have less side effects to the treatment, but we also understand that (exercising is) really hard for someone going through treatment," she said.

While Livestrong at the YMCA only serves cancer survivors, the program allows for free membership opportunities for the survivors' family and caregivers.

Livestrong is a health and wellness program that provides information and support to people battling cancer. The program is part of the Lance Armstrong Foundation, which carries the name of the cancer survivor and cyclist who started it.

Community effort: The Y is working with local officials from WellSpan Health, Memorial Hospital and the York Cancer Center to receive participant referrals and to make sure program staff are developing the appropriate fitness plan for each survivor, Strathmeyer said.

There are plans to start a Livestrong at the YMCA program in the southern branch in Shrewsbury in January, she said.

A total of 15 Livestrong-trained YMCA staff members will work in the program at the two branches.

To prepare for the November start in York, Strathmeyer invites cancer survivors and their caregivers to meet with her for a focus group discussion at 9 a.m. Thursday at the York branch.

"We need them to come talk to us about their experiences and needs," she said. "We want to have a good understanding of what is needed in our York community."

The pilot program will serve a maximum of 15 participants. Data on their progress will be gathered for the Y to use as it plans to make the program a permanent service offered at its branches throughout York County in the future, Strathmeyer said.

Data could be made available to the Lance Armstrong Foundation and the YMCA of the USA if they request it for tracking cancer survivors' progress nationwide, Strathmeyer said.

Funding: The information also could be used to secure future funding, she said. Besides the $3,500 grant -- received in this spring -- the YMCA of York County is working to get an additional $60,000 in grants to support the Livestrong program for the next several years, Strathmeyer said.

The Y is planning various fundraising events. The first is "Fight Like a Girl Bodycombat-thon," a cardio fitness event to be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 14, at the York branch. The cost is $15 a person.

"We're trying to help cancer survivors get a hold of their lives and fight back," Strathmeyer said.

To get involved: Livestrong at the YMCA, begins Nov. 12 and will run through Jan. 28. The program focuses on exercise and fitness training to improve cancer survivors' strength and range of motion.

The program will serve adult survivors ages 18 and up. They would meet 90 minutes twice a week.

To become a participant, call Cori Strathmeyer at 843-7884.

Also contact her to participate in focus group discussion -- for cancer survivors and caretakers -- at 9 a.m. Thursday at the Y's York branch at 90 N. Newberry St. in York City.

"Fight Like a Girl Bodycombat-thon," a cardio fitness fundraiser, will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 14, at the York branch. The cost is $15 a person.

--Reach Eyana Adah McMillan at emcmillan@yorkdispatch.com.