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    Burbank YMCA program helps cancer patients through exercise

    Theresa Walsh leads Marcia Elliot through her Pink Program fitness routine at the Burbank YMCA in Reading.
    Hallmark Health
    Theresa Walsh leads Marcia Elliot through her Pink Program fitness routine at the Burbank YMCA in Reading.

    PINK POWER: After being diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2012, Marcia Elliot immediately saw a specialist in breast surgery at Hallmark Health System to discuss her treatment plan.

    The 68-year-old grandmother from Medford underwent two surgeries, a lumpectomy, and removal of lymph nodes and precancerous cells.

    She recently completed lymphedema therapy and began six weeks of radiation.


    Coupled with her medical treatment, Hallmark Health recommended that Elliot enroll in the YMCA of Greater Boston’sPink Program, which is designed to help breast cancer patients and those who are in remission to exercise safely and enhance their overall health.

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    Elliot joined the Pink Program at the Burbank YMCA in Reading.

    “I am fortunate that my cancer was caught in its early stages and that I received the wraparound care from experts at Hallmark Health System and the YMCA,” she said. “Thanks to my workout routine at the Y, I’ve been able to maintain my range of motion and I am also getting stronger.

    “It’s also nice to talk to other women about what you are going through who can relate,” she said. “I’ve made some really great friends through the Pink Program.”

    Pink is a 12-week program that provides simple, powerful workouts tailored to the challenges that follow breast cancer and reconstructive surgeries.


    The program is adapted for all fitness levels and is free for participants.

    A related program, Pink Maintenance, is available to those who wish to continue to achieve health and wellness while in remission.

    Research shows that the right blend of exercise can lower the odds of breast cancer recurrence, boost energy and strength, restore ease in performing daily tasks, and enhance quality of life.

    The Pink Program meets twice a week at the Burbank Y and is taught by staff members and certified instructors Theresa Walsh and Trish Marfione.

    The Pink Program currently has nine participants, and Pink Maintenance has 11.


    Elliot recently shared her story at the Burbank Y in front of more than 60 people who gathered to celebrate the success of the Pink programs during the “Together We Can” breakfast.

    “As we approached Women’s Health month, we thought this was the perfect time to shine a light on this effective program and highlight its impact on our community,” said Irene Collins, executive director of the Burbank Y.

    The new session of the Pink Program begins April 8 and runs until July 1. Call 781- 944-9622, ext. 230, or visit www.­ymca­­

    STEPPING OUT:Easter Seals Massachusetts is holding a rally in Wakefield on Wednesday for anyone interested in participating in its upcoming Walk With Me fund-raiser.

    Walk With Me supports Easter Seal services for children and adults with disabilities.

    Walk participants, volunteers, and Easter Seals ambassadors will be on hand with a range of information, including fund-raising tips.

    The Wakefield walk is May 29.

    The rally begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Americal Civic Center.

    Contact Kelli Barry at or 508-751-6305.

    WHO’S WHAT WHERE:The Home Health Foundation is honoring state Representative Brian Dempsey and Rosanne J. DiStefano, executive director of Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley at the Legacy of Leading event April 4 at Andover Country Club. The annual event honors people in the community who show support for the health and well-being of communities in the Merrimack Valley, as well as a commitment to the mission of the agencies of the Home Health Foundation. . . . Four Northern Essex Community College faculty and staff members have received National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development Awards for Excellence, which recognize outstanding teachers in the country’s community colleges. Recipients include Judith Chmielecki of North Andover, instructor of English as a second language; Carolyn Cohen of Atkinson, N.H., professor and chairwoman of the behavioral science department; Jane Gagliardi of Gloucester, coordinator of the human services program; and Susan Pelletier of Andover, administrative assistant in the arts, business, communication, and technology department.

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