Fit2Fight: Helping cancer patients have many more good days than bad throughspecialized exercise programs
Feb 18, 2012 | 2:00 pm
Her Mom was diagnosed with a rare blood disease in 2006 called T-cell Lymphoma.
That's when Marilyn Breedlove quit her job and devoted much of her time to staying by her Mom's side during chemotherapy, radiation and afterwards at her home — helping with the good, the bad and the very bad days.
Her Mom lost her battle with cancer in 2009. That's when she became Marilyn's inspiration.
Marilyn Breedlove describes herself as a gym rat; she's always loved working out. She knew after her Mom passed away that she just couldn't go back to an office job. Her husband encouraged her to become a personal trainer, but she felt the need to work with cancer patients. Thus, she discovered the benefits of fitness for cancer patients, and Fit2Fight was born.
Marilyn is now certified by the American College of Sports Medicine as a cancer fitness trainer, and Fit2Fight uses state of the art cancer exercise training techniques for its patients. She says the biggest thing she can give her clients is compassion.
"I don't make my patients do anything they don't want to do, we work on what they want to work on," Marilyn says.
Of course, she will push her clients because she believes exercise can help ease side effects, depression and improve the overall quality of life.
Ninety-percent of Fit2Fight clients are breast cancer patients. They suffer from a lack of range of motion, balance and energy, and they often fight weight gain from steroids.
Client Adrienne Beveridge is now cancer free; she's been in remission for almost two years. She was diagnosed with stage three ductal carcinoma just seven days before her 35th birthday. It was a devastating diagnosis for Adrienne and her husband, who had only been married for nine months.
Adrienne underwent a double mastectomy with reconstruction. Additionally, she had her ovaries removed so her body would stop producing estrogen because her cancer was estrogen positive.
She fought the cancer through chemotherapy and radiation and, during treatment, Adrienne tried to exercise. She acknowledges it was difficult but she says, "I knew from the beginning that I needed to keep moving."
She could walk around her swimming pool three times and would then be so exhausted that she needed a nap. The exhaustion persisted even after treatment but she says, "I needed a program that would go at my pace but also force me to push myself a little."
Her hope was to find a trainer who understood what her body had gone through.
Adrienne found Marilyn and Fit2Fight and calls it a perfect match. "Marilyn offers me a workout that is tailored to my needs. If a particular exercise doesn't work for me, she changes it."
Marilyn is helping Adrienne strengthen her core plus work on her balance and range of motion. They workout once a week and on the night I met Adrienne, Marilyn had designed a timed workout. Each exercise targeting her core, legs and arms was based not on sets, but on time.
An added benefit through Fit2Fight, Marilyn offers a workout program for not only the cancer patient but also their caregiver.
Marilyn says after starting Fit2Fight, she realized this was what she was meant to do. Through the loss of her Mom, Marilyn understands the pain and suffering cancer has on a patient and their family. But that pain fueled her compassion and desire to help other patients going through the same struggles. She says it has showed her what is important in life.
Her hope is to help her patients have many more good days than bad.
You can find out more about Fit2Fight and Marilyn Breedlove at www.Fit2Fightcancer.com