The Cancer Thrivers movement therapy program was a popular 3-year pilot project designed to support cancer patients. It encouraged participants to stay physically active and connect with other people who experienced the disease.

The District of West Vancouver program, which started in 2019, was hosted at West Vancouver Community Centre and funded through Enhance West Vancouver. It offered movement therapy, an exercise regime, education and social connection for people challenging cancer.

“It’s changed my life, just the support from all the people that are in the group,” says one participant.

“I really like the workout element, that has really improved my mental state as well. … It’s all about feeling better, having self-worth, and this program is stunning and I can’t say enough about it.”

The program included:

  • a weekly yoga session
  • two exercise classes
  • a social component
  • a once-a-month outdoor nature walk.

While cancer treatment is covered through health care, rehabilitation following a diagnosis generally is not, according to Dave Thomson, rehabilitation and sports training program co-ordinator at the community centre, who oversaw the program.

Thomson cited the importance of exercise oncology and how physical fitness can be beneficial when it comes to thriving following cancer treatment.

“The program also provided a safe space for them to express their feelings and to realise that others are going through similar situations,” says Thomson.

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