The Family Y of Greater Augusta

Impact Story- Stephanie Cole Marshall

Stephanie Cole-Marshall typically hadn’t attended yearly mammograms as recommended but decided to schedule an appointment in January of 2013 and when she came back January 2014, the doctors said they found something. That something was a tumor.

Cole-Marshall is a 59-year-old, self-proclaimed “foodie,” who says she is “59 and still kickin,” is a recently retired teacher of 36 years, breast cancer survivor and LIVESTRONG at the YMCA participant.

After participating in “Walking for a Cure” last October she was surprised to find that she too would be diagnosed with breast cancer just a few months later.

She says it was Gods doing.

“He sent me to the right place, at the right time, to the right doctors,” Cole-Marshall said.

Cole-Marshall found out about the LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program while in her surgeons office. She said she saw a flyer, called, and spoke to Janet Thornburg, LIVESTRONG at the YMCA coordinator at the Family Y of Greater Augusta, who then got her in touch with instructors at the Wilson Family YMCA.

LIVESTRONG at the YMCA is a 12-week wellness program that helps cancer survivors transition between cancer treatments back to life as it was before treatment. The focus is on both mental and physical strength. Instructors are well trained and work with participants on an individual needs basis.

Cole-Marshall has been active in the program for 5 weeks now and speaks highly of it.

The groups are small; her group has only 6 - 7 participants. They are given a 12-week schedule, exercise tips and a training log to track their progress.

“These ladies put a lot into making the programs work and I give them all kudos because they are so efficient and effective,” she said of the LIVESTRONG at the YMCA instructors and their program. “This is a very nice facility and the people who work here make us all feel so welcome.

These ladies not only workout together but they pray together, they read excerpts from the bible together and even celebrate birthdays with each other.

Cole-Marshall says that it’s inspirational and that she has been blessed to have the amount of support that she has had, between her faith, her family, her friends and her co-workers.

“People I hadn’t heard from in 20-30 years called when they found out I was sick.” She said.

Cole-Marshall said that there are things that you go through that test your faith to make you a better person. She’s constantly thinking about what the lesson she may learn from this and she remembers Job 2:10. As Job loses his health he asks his wife, “Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?"

Cole-Marshall also reflects on Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose,” as she contemplates whether or not she been called according to his purpose.

As for her journey, Cole-Marshall still goes for checkups regularly but is doing fine. She continues to walk for awareness, volunteer and participate with the LIVESTRONG at the YMCA where her goal is to increase her strength.

“My nails are dark still, but it will get better, and my hands… and my eyesight, I had eye sensitivity,” she said. “I had to buy dark sunglasses, but that’s normal now. My feet peeled, my hair all came out, I just cut it off....you know, that no big deal. The only thing I was the most worried about that never happened, God again, was the nausea.”

Cole-Marshall recommends that you develop friendships that enrich your life, encourage yourself and each other and that you are positive and know that things are going to get better.

Everyday she asks “Lord, let me be a blessing today.”

For more information about LIVESTRONG at the YMCA, contact Janet Thornburg at 803-349-8101.You can’t fight cancer from the couch-let your YMCA Family help you through your battle!