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Cancer survivors: Exercise, camaraderie helped them

A cancer wellness program is being offered by Sam B. Cook Healthplex professionals.

The 12-week program, designed for cancer survivors and those currently in treatment, consists of education and exercise in a group atmosphere.

Though exercise seems like a tiring activity for already fatigued cancer patients and survivors, results show exercise reduces fatigue, improves mental health and builds confidence.

“I just feel better. I’m able to do more at home. I’m ready to go out and do things,” said participant Gale Schaffner.

A two-year breast cancer survivor, Schaffner enjoyed using the elliptical trainer and other machines during the class.

“It got me in better shape. And the speakers were so helpful,” she said.

“Even if they spoke about something that didn’t apply to me, I knew it was helpful for someone else in the room, and I benefited just knowing that,” she added.

Jane Britton, Holts Summit resident and a breast cancer survivor, agreed.

“I didn’t join the support groups and things after my treatment,” Britton said. “But the camaraderie of this program was so helpful.”

Participants like Britton and Schaffner benefited from the expertise of physical therapists, personal trainers, dietitians, psychologists and oncology nurses.

All of the health professionals have completed specialized training in cancer recovery and follow the American College of Sports Medicine’s recommendations for physical activity.

Patients going through chemotherapy should not participate in exercise programs, but this program is safe for survivors and those going through other kinds of treatments, said Sally Moore, a physical therapist who conducts the program with her colleagues at the Healthplex.

The next session begins Jan 20.

Class sizes are limited, and participation requires physician consent, but the first meeting will be an orientation that requires no commitment.

“People can come and see if the program is right for them without making a commitment right away,” Moore said.

Classes meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Sam B. Cook Healthplex, 1432 Southwest Blvd. For more information, call the membership office at the Healthplex, 632-5634.

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