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Milestone achievement for After Cancer Exercise

Posted on 4 February 2015  - 09:48

Today is World Cancer Day 2015, and we take a look at how Tottenham Hotspur Foundation has been supporting Haringey and Enfield residents living with and beyond cancer, through the Macmillan After Cancer Exercise (ACE) programme.

World Cancer Day is a unique opportunity to raise awareness that there is much that can be done at an individual, community and governmental level, to ensure that overcoming cancer is not beyond us. The 2015 campaign will encourage dialogue and discussion around four key areas of focus: choosing healthy lives; delivering early detection; achieving treatment for all; maximising quality of life.

Launched in April 2014, over 100 people have taken part in Macmillan ACE, a 12 week exercise referral programme delivered as part of the Club’s commitment to fighting cancer.

Run by the Foundation’s specialist cancer rehabilitation instructors, anyone living with and beyond cancer in Haringey or Enfield can easily access the free exercise sessions, available on either a group or one-to-one basis at selected Fusion Leisure Centres.

Haringey and Enfield is home to almost 7,000 people living with cancer. Evidence suggests that physical activity after treatment for cancer can reduce the impact of a number of side effects and in some cases help prevent the cancer reoccurring.

Differing considerably from typical exercise sessions offered by local gyms, Macmillan ACE gives people affected by cancer the support and motivation to be active, focusing on gentle exercises that promote a steady progression. Through a combination of cycling, walking, circuits, aerobics, zumba and tai-chi to strengthen the body, progress is monitored over a 12 week period where participants are encouraged to reach personal goals.

Zohret was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009. After chemotherapy and radiotherapy she had a mastectomy to remove her left breast. When the cancer came back in her right breast in 2013 she had a second mastectomy, resulting in lots of pain in her arms and feelings of depression. This is Zohret’s story:

“In October 2014 I was referred on to the ACE programme. Initially, I felt self conscious and very shy about the idea of exercising in public. But, when I realised it was doing me some good I began to force myself to go along to my weekly session. I’m now half-way through the programme and I tell everyone about it. Not only do I feel physically and emotionally stronger, I see myself more positively when I look in the mirror.

“The Macmillan ACE programme has given me hope and taught me to accept my body for how it looks after cancer. Not only has it developed my strength but the exercises have given me energy and improved my self confidence. I’m no longer taking anti-depressants and feel much better about myself emotionally.”

In 2011, Anthony was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer and metastatic spinal cord compression. He was told he would never be able to walk again.

Three and a half years on from his diagnosis he is proud to say that cancer hasn’t beaten him yet, and that he is able to walk short distances. Having joined the Macmillan ACE programme through a referral from his GP, Anthony attended the Enfield sessions at Southbury Leisure Centre. Here he explains how the programme has helped him:

“I am not one for exercising on my own, so it was great to have someone to help me. The ACE programme got me out of the house and back in to some sort of shape and fitness. Not only has it been good for my health, but also my mind, confidence and positivity.

“I have loved every minute of it.”

Jo van Tijn, Macmillan Development Manager - North Central London and West Essex, said: “Macmillan is delighted with the difference the ACE programme is making to people living with and beyond cancer. We know that exercise has a powerful part to play in helping people feel more confident, happier and more like themselves again after a cancer diagnosis. Congratulations to the team on reaching this milestone.”

Grant Cornwell, Chief Executive Officer, Tottenham Hotspur Foundation said: “At Tottenham Hotspur we are committed to fighting cancer. With one in three people affected by the disease we are proud to use our place at the heart of the community to provide support to those affected by cancer, and their families.”

Since the start of the 2013-14 season, the Club has been helping to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of cancer and promoting the importance of early diagnosis through its support of major NHS campaign, Get to know cancer, which aims to save up to 1,000 lives in London each year through early diagnosis.

For more information about the After Cancer Exercise programme please download a referral form from www.tottenhamhotspur.com/foundation/health-and-wellbeing/macmillan-ace/ and take it along to your GP or Cancer specialist nurse.

To find out more about World Cancer Day please visit www.worldcancerday.org