Townsville cancer patients on the way to recovery thanks to free exercise program | Leukaemia Foundation

Townsville cancer patients on the way to recovery thanks to free exercise program

Thursday, 09 July 2015


Last week six local cancer patients were the first to complete a pioneering medical exercise program in Townsville.

The 12-week Fit to Thrive program, run by the Leukaemia Foundation of Queensland and Aspire Fitness and Rehabilitation, is specifically designed to help blood cancer patients cope with treatment side effects and improve their overall wellbeing.

It includes a range of strength and flexibility exercises tailored to each patient.

Results showed that all six participants in Townsville experienced improvements in their fitness, energy levels, confidence, and emotional health over the course of the program.

“This group gained much more than just fitness and strength. They all had a goal, motivation and drive to get well and stay well,” says the Leukaemia Foundation’s Karen Szymanski, who supported patients during the program.

Research has shown physical activity before, during, and after cancer treatments, like chemotherapy or a stem cell transplant, can have a number of benefits, including decreasing common side effects like nausea and fatigue.

Ms Szymanski, a former social worker, says the program’s psychological impacts have enormous benefits for patients facing a cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment.

“These participants now have hope for the future. They have a chance to continue with plans they had before the dark days of their initial diagnosis,” she said.

The Leukaemia Foundation will start running a second Fit to Thrive session from Health Studio in Hermit Park shortly.

Fit to Thrive is provided by the Leukaemia Foundation to participants at no cost, and joins other free support services for Townsville residents such as counselling, seminars, grief support, carer support, financial assistance, and accommodation.

For more information about Fit to Thrive, visit or phone 07 3055 8233.