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When graduate nursing student Molly Schumacher approached University of Wisconsin Oshkosh assistant professor Paula McNiel with an interest in researching cancer treatment, McNiel knew exactly what to recommend.

For some time, McNiel had been acquainted with “LIVESTRONG at the YMCA,” a 12-week exercise program that helps cancer patients and survivors regain their strength and share support with others in their position.

“I knew that, at one point, (the YMCA) had wanted to expand and look more deeply into the results of their program.” Schumacher said. “It was really a nice tie-in, when Molly came forward.”

To collect information about the LIVESTRONG program, Schumacher sits down with participants one-on-one and conducts interviews about their experience with the program. She records what the participants say and later organizes their comments into categories.

The final product of Schumacher’s project will be a manuscript detailing the specific benefits of the LIVESTRONG program on its participants.

“It’s really interesting to collaborate with a student, not only a fellow colleague, but with a student,” McNiel said. “You’re not only helping educate them, but I learn from them as well. It’s a really nice partnership.”

“I’m really hoping that the word gets out in the community about how great the LIVESTRONG prorgram is,” Schumacher said. “There are a lot of benefits shown with exercise and improving overall outcomes for cancer patients and survivors, so I’m hoping that this will increase awareness about the program itself.”

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