MP opens unique gym for cancer patients
The country’s first gym dedicated to the active recovery of cancer patients was officially opened by Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert in Angmering on Friday (16 October).
The gym is the vision of Jan Sheward, founder and trustee of Cancer United, a local charity providing support to people with a cancer diagnosis. Jan's strong belief in physical exercise during cancer treatment gave her the ambition to create a dedicated space for other patients.
The charity's ‘C U Fitter’ initiative is a fitness programme which has been developed for Cancer United and provides tailored exercise for people in cancer recovery. The programme fits with the charity’s core belief that physical activity should be a part of any cancer recovery package.
This view is endorsed by Macmillan in their ‘Move More’ report which states that over 70 per cent of cancer patients struggle with physical side effects between one and ten years after treatment. Regular exercise helps to alleviate the side effects and can also help to prevent a recurrence of the disease. The report refers to exercise as the ‘underrated wonder drug’.
Cancer United is the only cancer charity currently offering cancer specific exercise in its weekly support group sessions. As well as being vital for recovery, gym sessions can also help with overcoming depression and isolation during treatment.
Jan was gifted a building for the purpose-built gym that will now give Cancer United’s members the opportunity to exercise in a specially designed place without feeling self-conscious.
In her opening ceremony speech, Jan thanked everyone who has helped her and the charity build the gym, especially Barratt David Wilson Homes and the main building contractor, Greg Rust, who undertook most of the structural work and who was often on site seven days a week to complete the project on time.
Mr Herbert praised Jan’s vision and determination, thanking her and all Cancer United’s volunteers before unveiling a plaque to mark the official opening of the gym.
Jan said: “Today is an historic moment in Cancer United’s history because the launch of this gym is truly the launch of ‘C U Fitter’. For the first time it will have a real base where it will be able to bring about extraordinary changes to the physical fitness and mental wellbeing of many cancer patients.”
Nick Herbert said: “Jan is a tremendous lady who has given so much time and energy to help make things better for patients who are recovering from cancer. Her positive attitude and determination is uplifting, and it is thanks to her vision, as well as the support of so many others, that this unique project has been realised."
Mr Herbert has accepted Jan Sheward’s invitation to become a patron for Cancer United, saying that he was “honoured” to be asked.
Weekly classes at the gym will commence from 26 November and can be booked online at www.cufitter.co.uk, or by contacting Jan at firstname.lastname@example.org. One on one personal training for cancer patients is also available.
1. Photograph – Nick Herbert with Jan Sheward, unveiling the plaque on the new Cancer United gym in Angmering.
2. For more information about Cancer United see www.cancerunited.org.uk.
3. For more information about Macmillan’s ‘Move More’ report see http://www.macmillan.org.uk/Documents/AboutUs/Health_professionals/PhysicalActivityUnderatedWonderdrug.pdf.
4. Quote from Ciarán Devane, Chief Executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, from the Macmillan ‘Move More’ report:
"After treatment, learning to live with cancer is tough. Severe fatigue, depression, or reduced muscle strength can be immediate effects. People may not realise that heart problems and osteoporosis in later life are unfortunate consequences of cancer treatment.
"So it is incredible to think that just by taking the simple step of getting involved in physical activity, cancer patients could possibly be helping themselves to overcome or even prevent these problems. What’s more, in some cases it can significantly reduce the risk of dying from the disease. It seems so simple, but this idea is still news to many healthcare professionals and certainly to people living with cancer."
5. To read Nick’s news release about his first meeting with Jan Sheward see http://www.nickherbert.com/news.php/549/mp-welcomes-boost-for-cancer-drugs.