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Strength for Life Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Breast Cancer, Health, Health Care

Mission: Mission: A community exercise program in which persons with a cancer diagnosis participate in group classes designed to enhance their recovery process. Services provided will include educating cancer patients and the general public on the benefits of exercise in reducing the risk of certain cancers and improving functional activities.

Results: Since 2007, SFL has been breaking down access barriers and bringing free, quality specialized exercise therapy to cancer patients and survivors through innovative support programs that are comprehensive and coordinated. The program is unique in that it limits the travel time that participants undertake to access quality, safe and effective exercise therapy for an improved recovery. Moreover, SFL offers its exercise programs to participants free of charge and provides the equipment so the exercise prescription can be continued at home. With a minimum of 4 participants, SFL seeks to institute a group class that is convenient locally and accessible and is open to any adult cancer patient/survivor regardless of gender or diagnosis. SFL holds as many sessions as the communities warrant, providing certified instructors. SFL places a strong emphasis on strength training and reducing risk of cancer recurrence through community partnerships. SFL programs provide comprehensive exercise therapy and fitness education via local schools, churches, community centers, libraries - on regular weekday schedules. Each of the partner sites helps to recruit patients and families, coordinate exercise activities, and reinforce mind over body messages. SFL collaborates with Stony Brook University, Mather Hospital, Northwell Health System, Winthrop University Hospital, Southampton Hospital, Brookhaven Hospital, Good Samaritan Hospital, American Cancer Society, and has a presence on the Suffolk County Cancer Awareness Task Force.

Target demographics: Strength for Life is open to all adult cancer patients/survivors, regardless of age, gender or cancer diagnosis.

Direct beneficiaries per year: over 200 participants in classes and retreats.

Geographic areas served: Strength for Life (SFL) is a non-profit dedicated to providing free exercise programs designed to enhance the recovery process of persons with a cancer diagnosis throughout Long Island communities.

Programs: Services provided include educating cancer patients, caregivers and the medical community on the benefits of incorporating exercise into the treatment regimen and its effect on reducing the risk of certain cancers and re-occurrences, and improving bodily functional activities. Programs are conducted by certified cancer exercise specialists in a group setting and held at accessible locations throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties.

Community Stories

177 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

Empowerment! Inspiration! Nutritional Guidance! Increased strength and endurance! Relaxation! These are just a few of the things you will receive in your life from taking part in a Strength For Life Wellness Retreat. The many exercise classes and groups they offer give you the strength and peace to continue your journey with a feeling of complete power from within. But the highlight of any gathering offered, is the opportunity to know Debbie, Teresa, Penni,Dr. Siobahn, and every other person involved with reaching out and giving us everything they have within themselves. The smiles and feelings of being connected forever are priceless. You all will hold a very special place in my heart forever.
Thank You all for being who you are!
With many thanks for sharing your strength! Diane Dillman

Janet159

Client Served

Rating: 5

Having Cancer and all in entails is very scary, of course. But this organization has the most awesome and caring people. They take you into their fold and you don't feel so all alone. They truly, truly care about YOU. Debbie Hughes is uplifting and sweet. They all are!!! Their retreats are really Awesome too! You have to go it, especially if you don't feel like socializing. You will not regret it. The 'Me' time is invigorating!

Previous Stories

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We had such a nice time sharing our stories and bonding. The classes were very helpful and informative. Wonderful people shared their time and knowledge with us!
Soooo worth it!!!!
I just started chemo in Nov. 2016. So this is all new and frightening. It was nice to share with others, learn some things, get some real advise and just feel a 'normal' connection. Because nothing is normal anymore.
Thank you Debbie Hughes and Teresa Doherty for putting this Amazing retreat together for us. You work so hard and it is really appreciated.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Cancer brought SFL to my life and for that I am grateful. I have met wonderful people who are supportive, caring and fun. Debbie Hughes is such an uplifting and outstanding person who always makes you feel good when you are around her. She makes exercising a happy time. Thank you SFL

Client Served

Rating: 5


Strength for Life offers a lot of free services addressing the physical, mental and emotional aspects of a cancer diagnosis and treatment. The leaders genuinely care for the people they work with and try to do their very best to serve them. I am a very grateful recipient of these services.

1 Sharon Emery D.

Client Served

Rating: 5

It's just incredible how something so good could exist as a result of something so bad. Cancer can be a life zapper in so many ways. Strength for Life is the opposite. It's a vehicle for providing encouragement and restoring hope to cancer survivors through compassionate, empathetic guidance in exercise. And in turn, a renewal, physical and emotional happens! People are brought together and there's almost an immediate bond...there's at the very least a common bond, which is healing from the ravages of cancer in some way through exercise! I love that I found Strength For Life!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been luckily enough to have discovered SFL about 18 months ago and am blown away by what an amazing and positive group of people make this organization run! I have attended their wellness retreat and am lucky enough to exercise with the group at their Commack and Smithtown locations. Every opportunity I get to tell another cancer survivor about this group I do. They have really helped change me both mentally and physically. I'm so grateful to have found them - they make my metastatic cancer disease easier to live with.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Strength for Life is an organization run by people who devote their time and energy to helping those who have survived cancer. They do so in an inviting, caring, safe environment, encouraging support, well-being and concern for and from those who partake of their services. The Wellness Retreat is an experience, specifically for cancer survivors, instructing them in different ways to empower, strengthen and care for their well-being and health. The facilitators in a caring, loving, and gentle manner patiently demonstrate different methods of exercise, movement, meditation, nutrition and various other techniques to survivors in all forms of treatment and health ways to empower themselves against the unpredictability of cancer. This is set in an environment that is safe, filled with survivors encouraged to support each other by sharing their experiences, journeys and knowledge. The Wellness Retreat is a wonderful experience that i would recommend to anyone who is a cancer survivor.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was diagnosed with breast cancer 2 1/2 years ago. I went through necessary treatments with a very good prognosis. However, i found myself feeling worse and worse physically and emotionally. I was having joint and muscle effects from the medications and could not function well enough to go back to work for almost two yearsalong with terrible insomnia. I saw an ad for Strength for Life on Channel 12 and called!! It was the best thing in the world i could have done because Debbie Hughes not only completely understood, but knew exactly what exercises,etc i need to do. In few weeks i started to be able to walk without using something as a cane and started to get a few more hours sleep per night so i could function! Strength for Life put me in contact with numerous people and organizations who could help me emotionally and financially! Strength changed my life and is constantly adding more programs to change the lives of the thiusands of cancer patients in various stages of treatments! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Janet Horan

Client Served

Rating: 5

This is an organization that truly lives up to its name...it offers empowerment and strength for those involved. One comes away from a weekend retreat, offered through Strength for Life, invigorated, renewed and prepared to take on any challenges ! I love the enthusiasm and positive energy of the leaders- Debbie, Theresa and Penny...you are all inspirational and awesome. Thanks so much and I intend to stay closely connected to this organization and want to support it for many years to come! Thank you and may G-d Bless you for all you do! xoxoxo Joani M

Client Served

Rating: 5

This is a great organization that really helps people with cancer! They do retreats and empowerment groups! They have exercise programs that help people also! The people that I have met are so compassionate and wonderful to be around!

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

I had an awesome time at this retreat!! Debbie and Theresa were awesome! I was a little nervous about going but they made you feel really welcomed!! I loved meeting all the new people that were in my group and learning all the new things to help me during this journey!! Thank you Debbie and Theresa!!!

Stephanie M.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

It was by chance that I was able to attend the most enjoyable and enlightening retreat at the Hyatt. I owe my beautiful and thoughtful daughter for giving me the opportunity to meet the most incredible woman that would open a window in my life that has been closed since 2005. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in January of 2005 and then lung cancer March of 2015. I felt amazing and know that I’m not alone in this. This organization is one of a kind. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart ❤️. SFL is great for the soul!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was diagnosed with Uterine Cancer in the winter of 2016. On April 1st, 2016 I had a total hysterectomy. While I was one of the lucky ones, in that I did not have to undergo chemotherapy or radiation, I was left reeling with the realization that I had cancer and would not be considered cured for five years. At the age of 5, I lost a beloved aunt to the same type of cancer. My hysterectomy left me feeling very depressed, scared and suffering "survivor's guilt,"
Through Winthrop University Hospital I found out about Strength For Life. I joined their monthly Empowerment Group, and signed up for the FREE exercise classes. In these groups, I met some of the most incredible women. We shared our stories, offered support in a way that only a cancer survivor can understand. I thought cancer was strong until I met these women! Through Strength For Life I have found many wonderful resources and learned so much about cancer and the power of the human body and spirit. I signed up for a Wellness Retreat and attended this February 10th and 11th. It was one of the most memorable weekends of my life. I got to experience meditation, exercise, and lectures on nutrition and holistic medicine. I participated in a Reiki Healing. I received Acupressure and Acupuncture. This entire weekend was FREE! It was made possible by donations Strength For Life received as a Not For Profit Organization!
I am no longer a depressed person beaten down by cancer. I am appreciative for all that cancer has done to humble me and change me as a person. I don't live life waiting for tragedy to strike. I view cancer as something I experienced and am called upon to share to help others in their journey. I am learning day by day to take responsibilities for my health and to treat myself and my body as a temple. I am am eternally thankful for Debbie Hughes, one of the Co-founders of Strength For Life. She lost a dear friend to cancer and out of that tragedy she created a legacy of love and support for other cancer patients and survivors. SFL does exactly what its name says, it gives people the STRENGTH to keep on LIVING!

Client Served

Rating: 5

SFL is a wonderful organization. I have been taking the weekly exercise classes at my cancer center and was finally able to attend an overnight retreat - what a gift! Debbie and her crew do amazing work. I am so thankful to have found this group of women. - Megan

2 Maria C.2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Strength for life has given me strength, joy and encouragement. Going to Debbie’s exercise class has given me a sense of power and I am excited to go to class not only for the exercise but being around others who have or had cancer and can relate to each other and who I now call friends. Also the retreat was an incredible experience that I will always treasure and the facilitators gave me such great tools ex: exercise,mindful movement,reiki, meditation, nutrition etc... were great! Strength for life is envilved in many other things I can’t wait to be a part of. One of them is casino night fundraiser which is one March 10th which I am excited to be going to !! Thank you strength for life for all you do!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I found out about Strength For Life through my oncologist office. I was a bit hesitant at first to join the exercise classes but I am so glad that I made that leap of faith and joined. I first started with one class, then I added another class and finally I added a third weekly class. It began as an exercise class but it has become so much more. I have met wonderful people through this organization from my classmates to the facilitators up to the co-founders. I have found an unofficial support group in the people that I have met through the fitness classes, empowerment groups and the retreats. The participants I have met all have positive attitudes and we support each other in a way that non-cancer survivors cannot relate to. I have made a group of friends that I keep in touch with outside the classes. We found out that we all joined for the classes and were rewarded 100 times more than we anticipated.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I had a life altering experience thanks to Strength For Life. I feel rejuvenated, physically, mentally and spiritually. Debbie and Teresa made it relaxing and fun. I have already emailed everyone that attended this 1 day retreat with information to help them deal with the stress of this horrible disease. and feel I have made some life long friends. I am still paying off medical debts so this is the only vacation I have taken in 3 years. I cannot thank all the volunteers who helped make this day so special to us all.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I learned about Strength for Life after being diagnosed with breast cancer in November of 2016. The support from this organization has been a life saver. The founder, Debbie Hughes, is compassionate and generous with her time and energy. I have attended one of the exercise classes and was fortunate to participate in a full day wellness retreat. The benefits to my physical, mental and emotional well being cannot be measured. Kudos to Strength for Life and all of the wonderful volunteers who make all they do possible!

1 LyteHead17

Donor

Rating: 5

This is Awsome Organization Helping Other Reach their Goals

Client Served

Rating: 5

As a breast cancer thriver I have found much needed support from the Strength for Life program. I have attended the overnight retreat and enjoyed learning from others with similar stories. The empowerment group is another great opportunity for support and guidance. Even with good health on my side I need help strengthening my emotional coping skills. The group is a truly awesome "self care" experience for me!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Absolutely wonderful organization that really helps people with cancer.