CaroMont's P.R.I.D.E Program Empowers Cancer Patients Through Exercise
A daily dose of exercise is good for everyone, especially if you have cancer.
When Cheryl Vagnozzi, 50, was diagnosed with breast cancer last year,
she felt hopeless and scared. Fortunately, Vagnozzi’s cancer was
detected early and she’s now on the road to recovery receiving radiation
treatments and entering her fourth week of CaroMont’s P.R.I.D.E Program (Power to
Exercise). P.R.I.D.E is an eight-week wellness and exercise program designed
to assist in managing the physical, social, psychological and spiritual
side effects of cancer treatment.
“Exercising is not my thing,” said Vagnozzi. “I am a
hands-on person, and I like to see immediate results. I was very reserved
in the beginning, but I’m already feeling much better than when
I started, and I enjoy talking to the ladies at the gym.”
Vagnozzi learned about the program through her patient navigator and made
the decision to join because she thought it would force her to make health
a priority. As a mother of three, Vagnozzi is accustomed to caring for
everyone else first. The P.R.I.D.E Program has shown her that she needs
to take time for herself so she can be there for her family in the future.
“After the diagnosis, I realized I had no other choice but to do
everything I could to fight this,” said Vagnozzi. “I told
myself, ‘This is your life!’ And through the process, I’ve
discovered an inner strength I didn’t know I had and I have hope
Emerging research shows routine exercise improves the quality of life of
cancer patients and also lowers recurrence rates in common cancer sites
like breast, colorectal and prostate. CaroMont’s P.R.I.D.E Program
aims to encourage survivorship by reducing fatigue, maintaining or improving
strength and endurance, enhancing overall quality of life, promoting independence
in normal activities and decreasing future risk.
Amanda Lee, Exercise Physiologist and P.R.I.D.E Program Coordinator at
CaroMont Health, knows personally about the challenges cancer patients
face. In 2007, her mother passed away from breast cancer, and her father
has been affected with prostate cancer. As part of her thesis project,
Lee revamped an existing cancer program to create P.R.I.D.E.
“Understanding the physical, social and psychological effects cancer
has on someone, CaroMont’s P.R.I.D.E Program is a customized curriculum
that gives cancer patients a better quality of life during their journey
with cancer and beyond,” said Lee.
Nearly two years into it, the program has offered nine, 8-week sessions
to nearly 80 participants who come from all walks of life.
“So many participants later tell me how much they enjoy coming each
week because it’s like their support group,” said Lee. “I
reap the benefits of watching the amazing transformation that takes place
in each individual in that their energy levels increase, they experience
improved sleep and more importantly, I see hope in their eyes.”
Participants in the program are medically-referred by their physician.
The group meets every Tuesday and Thursday at CaroMont Health and Fitness
Center for an hour and a half. Sessions consist of cardio exercises, body
sculpting and a lecture series covering a range of topics including nutrition,
advance directives, genetic counseling, stress management, sleep health,
home safety and survivorship.
A celebration is held at the end of the program and participants receive
a pedometer, work out towel, water bottle, work out band and t-shirt.
Spouses are encouraged to attend with their loved one; completion rates
tend to be greater if a significant other is going through the program
as it creates additional support to the patient.
For more information about the P.R.I.D.E Program, please call 704.671.7930.