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Finding community through fitness

Dealing with a cancer diagnosis can be profoundly difficult, and often lonely.

To help patients stay healthy and connected, the Michael D. Wachtel Cancer Center and Outpatient Oncology Rehab services created PEACE (People Exercising After Cancer Enters), a free exercise and relaxation program for cancer survivors.

Using a group exercise format, PEACE engages survivors of all ages in stretching, range of motion, strengthening, balance and cardio exercises. Long-term participants report improved mobility and endurance because of PEACE, but the program's greatest strength is the healing that comes through socialization and group support.

"PEACE provides support not only as medical staff, but as friends," says Lori Christianson, Physical Therapy Assistant at Ascension Mercy Hospital. "This a difficult time in our patients' lives, but with PEACE, they are able to find community and support in facing it together."

In addition to group exercise, every participant receives a personalized strength training regimen as part of PEACE. Every session ends with group time for healing and relaxation, using guided imagery, music or visualization techniques in a calm, low-lit area. Special presentations on acupuncture, nutrition and massage are also offered, and emphasize the connection between mind, body and spirit.

Started in 2011, PEACE is fully-funded by philanthropy and would not be possible without your support! For more information on PEACE, please contact lori.christianson@ascension.org or call (920) 223-0568.

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