Kathy's Story:

Strength After Cancer

Cancer Exercise programs at Virtua help patients and survivors
regain control of their bodies


A breast cancer diagnosis did not come as a surprise to Kathy Schaub. She anticipated that one day the disease would show up in her body because her mother was two-time cancer survivor.

“When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012, I knew there was light at the end of the tunnel, said Schaub. “It was treatable. It wasn’t a death sentence - just a detour on the highway of life.”

Still, at 58 years old, Kathy thought she had more time before cancer arrived.

After her diagnosis, Kathy experienced a range of emotions, from fear to hopefulness. Despite all her body endured – surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, nausea, fatigue, and pain – she remained positive and believed this was curable.

“And then one day it is over. You are done treatment, but you are not yourself anymore,” she said. “What you don’t realize, until you go through the treatment, is that your life will have a new ‘normal.’ You now need to rebuild your body and regain control of your life.”

To counter the physical changes to her body, Kathy enrolled in Virtua’s cancer exercise programs designed specifically for cancer patients and survivors.

Exercise after cancer diagnosis helps reduce the risk of recurrence and improves quality of life. It has also been found to lower the mortality rate in many cancer survivor groups, according to the American Cancer Society. Exercise also helps patients and survivors fight fatigue, build strength and manage weight. Group sessions provide support and comfort. Classes that integrate relaxation techniques like tai chi focus on the mind and spirit.

Virtua offers a variety of exercise programs led by trainers certified in Cancer Exercise. Next Step: Cancer Fitness is an eight week program offered at Virtua’s fitness centers in Voorhees, Washington Township and Moorestown. Moving On is a 12 week program that can be customized to meet the needs of participants at all stages of cancer and recovery, whether they have been made physically weak by the disease or the treatment. This class is offered at the Voorhees fitness center only.

Kathy works with her trainer Marjie Zimmerman, a certified cancer exercise specialist, twice a week. They focus on cardio, weight training, stretching and relaxation classes. Kathy has also made friends through the program’s group sessions who have become a new support system. Together, they can share in one another’s experiences – good and bad.

While Zimmerman would recommend Next Step and Moving On to all cancer patients and survivors who are well enough to begin an exercise program, it isn’t something everyone can afford: health insurance often does not cover these exercise fitness programs.

While a patient does not need to be a member of Virtua’s Health and Wellness centers, the programs cost between $99 and $399, depending on which program best suits a participant’s needs. Gifts in support of cancer exercise at Virtua ensure that patients and survivors in need can participate in these programs.

“It's been a long road to getting the medical profession to understand and finally approve of exercise and cancer being used together in a single sentence,” says Zimmerman. “We finally have oncologists who recommend all of our cancer and exercise programs. The next obstacle we have to overcome is making these programs more accessible for all people who have cancer, without it being a financial hardship for anyone.”

We are currently offering three cancer and exercise programs at Virtua Health and Wellness Centers, importantly under the supervision of a Certified Cancer Exercise Specialist:

Strength After Breast Cancer (SABC)

Four 1-hour weekly sessions in coordination with and based upon the UPenn PAL Trial. Includes:

  • Lymphedema Education Session
  • Evaluation with Lymphedema Therapist
  • Evaluation With a Certified Cancer Specialist 4
  • Supervised Exercise Sessions
  • Gym membership included for 1 month, generally nonrenewable after 4 weeks.

 

NextStep: Cancer Component

This program includes:

  • 16 one-hour Group Personal Training sessions
  • Pre and Post assessment Evaluation with a Certified Cancer Specialist
  • A weekly one hour “Relax/Renew” (or comparable) class
  • Includes a full gym membership for 8 weeks
  • Personal progress report sent to referring physicians by the Certified Cancer Specialist
  • This is for ALL stages and types of cancer
  • Generally nonrenewable program

 

"Moving On” cancer and exercise program*

This program includes:

  • 24 one-hour Group Personal Training sessions Tuesday and Thursday with a Certified Cancer Exercise Specialist
  • NO full gym membership
  • A one hour “Relax/Renew” class per week, developed specifically for cancer survivors only
  • ALL types and stages of cancer are welcome
  • Currently renewable without limitation!

*Currently ONLY available at the William G Rohrer Center for Healthfitness at Voorhees.

 

For more information on classes offered, contact the Virtua Health and Wellness Centers:


Virtua Health & Wellness Center - Moorestown

(888) 847-8823

Virtua Health & Wellness Center - Washington Township
(888) 847-8823

William G. Rohrer Center for HealthFitness
(856) 325-5300

Virtua Foundation

303 Lippincott Drive, 4th Floor
Marlton, NJ 08053
Phone: 856-355-0830

Fax: 856-355-0831
vhf@virtua.org

 

 

Virtua Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization committed to enhancing Virtua's mission through philanthropy.

 

Copyright 2017 Virtua Foundation