Reasons to Become an A.S.S. (Active Survivor of Sheboygan)?

Reasons to Become an A.S.S. (Active Survivor of Sheboygan)?

Active Survivors of Sheboygan (A.S.S.) Team members record their individual exercise/activity on monthly logs (see attached) and submit them. Team members choose the activity and the intensity. Exercise 30-minutes or more five or more days per week to qualify for the GOLD (Olympian) level! Participation in scheduled ST&BF scheduled activities is not required but a way to reach your goal(s).

CURRENT 2022 ST&BF Active Survivors of Sheboygan:

LCCU2022 0809ASS

EXPLANATION OF TABLE: A.S.S. Years = How many years prior to 2022 as an A.S.S. team member. 2022 Tot Mos = how many months of participation in 2021. 2021 Tot Pts = how many total points have been earned in 2021. * Denotes recent log(s) missing. Current Avg = average points earned over the last three months (which determines a survivor-athletes current status on the A.S.S. Team)!

As you can see from our current roster (above), many of our current members have participated in this program for many years (the average is 5.5 years). I reached out to them to ask “why”?

Chris (3-year A.S.S. veteran) indicated, “It keeps me accountable to exercise regularly. I want to remain as healthy as I can into old age. I enjoy the camaraderie of fellow survivors.”

Leah (8-year A.S.S. veteran) indicated, “Using the monthly logs offers me a sense of accountability. It’s a quick and easy visual to remind myself to be active and keep moving. Since I am a list person, I find it satisfying to write down my activities.

Candy (9-year A.S.S. veteran) participates because “The new friends I have met have become important to me and keeping the logs holds me accountable for my health.”

Deb (2-year A.S.S. veteran) says, “It gives me a record of how much I’ve moved during the month.”

According to Bob (5-year A.S.S. veteran), “Just having an activity log is enough to provide motivation on a monthly basis. And other challenges throughout the year provide further incentives to get myself moving.”

Sue (4-year A.S.S. veteran) explains, “I participate in the A.S.S. Program because it gives me a goal to shoot for in regards to exercising. Not only do I want to reach the 20 or more days a month of exercising, I am also pushing myself to do the exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes each time. The A.S.S. Program has helped me be in the best physical shape of my life!”

Cindy (9-year A.S.S. veteran) states, “It helps me to be accountable for my physical activities. Each day, I try to do at least 45 minutes to one hour of exercise...whether it be walking, biking, rowing, yoga and stretching or aerobics. It also makes me feel more connected to our group of cancer survivors.”

Kathy (8-year A.S.S. veteran) lists several reasons, “Why do I turn in an exercise log/do group activities? I keep working out because: I want to improve my health. The group helps motivate me and holds me accountable. The group makes it fun, and I meet new people. A variety of exercises and no judgement of what you can do or can't do”

Sharon (2-year A.S.S. veteran) reflects, “I do it because it’s fun. I enjoy doing a variety of activities. It makes me feel good to see what I accomplished.”

Rae-Ellen (2-year A.S.S. veteran) admits, “I’m usually not one to keep track of stuff like that. But I feel connected to the SCCCF group. Once started I really enjoyed keeping track. And sometimes I had a few days off and thought I better kick it into gear. I’m usually pretty active so I didn’t have to change my life very much. It’s again, fun to see how active I’ve been that month. Not the greatest answer but my truth.”

Diane (9-year A.S.S. veteran) comments, “It keeps me motivated to do activities and exercise.”

It appears the top three reasons given for making the A.S.S. Team a priority for these survivors are: it effectively motivates them to stick with their exercise routine, it provides an element of accountability, and it offers enjoyable camaraderie with fellow survivors.

These are all great reasons that are neither surprising or unique to the A.S.S. Team, as there is plenty of research that would support these and other benefits of a group exercise program.

But this is not your typical exercise program... because these are not your typical health and fitness enthusiasts. These are all not only “cancer survivors” but also “survivor-athletes”!

A “cancer survivor” is anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer and is alive today - whether cured, in remission, currently receiving treatment, or at the end of life.

What is a “survivor-athlete”: Several years ago (2018) I wrote a piece about what it means to be a “survivor-athlete” that included comments from our survivor-athletes. Here is an excerpt from that piece:


As the number of survivors who have become active in SCCCF’s Survive, Thrive & Be Fit program grows I find myself referring to more and more survivors as “survivor-athletes.” I will often get a sort of “Who me?” look in response so, a few weeks back, I decided to send this question to those who regularly participate in ST&BF: “Do you consider yourself an athlete?”

Exactly half of the respondents said “YES” (they consider themselves to be an athlete”) and exactly half said “NO.” Not everyone explained their responses, but here are a few comments that I found insightful and interesting!

“Yes! I challenge myself to be active as much as I can; however, I don’t always participate in competitive sports. The physical and mental benefits of exercise are my prime focus; not necessarily being the winner in a competitive game. I can be a winner each day that I do just a little more to benefit my mind and body.” – Cindy

“Sort of. I don’ think of myself as an athlete but I do like to be involved with activities that get me out and doing things even if I am not very good at them. So maybe I am? Or will be some day?” – Jennifer

“Not really... but I do think I’m an “athlete want-to-be.” I think of an athlete as someone who works hard to compete for a goal. That being said, I change my answer to “YES.” I am an athlete as my goal is to be a healthier me.” – Kay

“At first, I thought NO. But then I thought about it more. I’m not a professional athlete that gets paid money, but I do work hard physically towards a goal. So YES, I am an athlete.” – Lisa

“I never used to. I always thought of an athlete as someone far more accomplished than me. However, with that said, you’ve been calling us athletes for so long, you have me thinking that maybe I am. Maybe an athlete doesn’t have to be someone like Aaron Rodgers, but someone like plain-old me. So, YES!” – Leah

To me, being an athlete is mostly about making a commitment and putting forth an effort towards living a healthy and active lifestyle and less about your skill level or ability to perform.

“What makes the athlete is present in everyone. No special talent is necessary. Being all you can be is making actual what is already potential inside you.” – Dr. George Sheehan

You can read the full article that also explores the origin of Survive, Thrive & Be Fit here:

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