Post-cancer program gets survivors back on their feet
Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News
efferson County YMCA Executive Director Erica Delma, left, chats with cancer patient True Heart prior to a Saturday benefit for the Exercise and Thrive program.
By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
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“After you are through with treatment, you are pretty much on your own,” said True Heart of Port Townsend, in her second bout with ovarian cancer.
“You need to find supportive programs, and this answers that need in a big way.”
Heart was treated for cancer for two years and was declared to be in remission last year. The cancer has now recurred.
Called Exercise and Thrive, the free 12-week program includes two 90-minute weekly sessions that focus specifically on the health needs of people who have received cancer treatment, Heart said.
It helps cancer survivors strengthen muscles, increase flexibility and improve endurance while receiving health and wellness support, program sponsors said.
It is open to anyone who has finished cancer treatment at any time in the past and who wants to improve physical and emotional fitness.
The program is open to the community and is available to adults, 21 and older, who are at least 90 days out of active cancer treatment, regardless of where they were treated.
Registration is now open for the program which is scheduled to begin on Oct. 1 and will continue for 12 weeks.
Heart, 73, participated in the program last year after her remission and it aided her recovery, she said.
“It got me into the habit of exercising again because I had to quit the gym when I got sick,” she said.
“When you are in treatment you are sedentary for a long time,” she said.
“This program gave me the energy I needed to get back into life.”
Heart and her husband, Dennis McDaniel, hosted a benefit for the program at their home on Saturday which YMCA Executive Director Erica Delma hoped would raise $20,00 for the program.
The program focuses on an important part of cancer recovery that is often forgotten, according to Dr. Joe Mattern, the hospital's chief medical officer.
“People who focus on the treatment fail to realize the lingering impact on the function and energy of these patients,” Mattern said.
“Exercise and Thrive specifically addresses this need through improving the exercise tolerance and general sense of well-being for this population.”
After participating in the program, Heart was able to weed her garden, her favorite exercise activity.
Jo Chandler, who was treated for breast cancer and sustained double mastectomies and lymph node reduction, said she tried several traditional and untraditional remedies that did not offer her relief.
The Exercise and Thrive program helped her with treatment of lymphedema, an accumulation of lymphatic fluid in tissue causing swelling that requires daily wraps of the affected areas.
“I now exercise regularly, yoga, and use the rowing machine at the gym,” Chandler said.
“I still require compression sleeve and glove daily, have some bad swelling and painful days, but my outlook on life and recovery are now limitless.
“The program gave me hope and freedom as a cancer survivor to cherish and enjoy life again.”
Class times are from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays in the Olympic Room at Jefferson Healthcare, 834 Sheridan St.
Space is still available, but pre--registration and a screening appointment are required.
For more information, call 360-385-5811.
Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last modified: September 15. 2013 6:10PM