Cardio for Cancer Challenge: Empower Fighters, Fund Trainers

Everyone has a story with cancer, whether it’s a family member, a friend, or someone in your community. Who the Wellness Gym is for: They run gym-based exercise programs for cancer survivors in active treatment, right here in Dunedin.

With the original program now in its 15th year, they opened the gym in their new location in St Kilda in April 2023. Since then, they have grown their client base to capacity, and are now tackling the next hurdle in gym growth: fundraising. pay their amazing personal trainer and add more part-time staff so they can train more cancer survivors undergoing active treatment here in Dunedin.

To make this next step a reality, the Wellness Gym is running theCardio for Cancer Challengeuntil Sunday, May 5, 2024.
Several Dunedin gyms are on board, encouraging their members to help raise funds for the Wellness Gym. Anyone can join individually or as a team.

Here’s how it works:

  • Participate or donate
  • Choose to run, bike, walk, swim, crawl…anything goes
  • Chase your goal and raise funds for a great cause
  • Compete against other teams or fly solo
  • Enter to win great prizes!

The Wellness Gym’s personalized programs increase the well-being and fitness of its clients, and they are part of a strong and supportive community.

Previously run at the University of Otago for 12 years and with over 500 clients, the Wellness Gym Charitable Trust has established the program as a community service. Uniquely, the founder of the gyms and her team have acquired an unparalleled knowledge of exercise oncology, which is why the oncologists at Te Whatu Ora Southern are eager to refer more clients to the program.

Every cancer is different, but most treatment plans are invasive, both physically and emotionally. Many cancer survivors feel that they are not in control of their health outcome as they go through the prescribed treatment regimen. Once they are released from the hospital, they often fall into a hole than they are now.

The Wellness Gym fills this gap in two ways:

  • By developing personalized exercise programs for clients, they regain control over their recovery and well-being; i
  • By coming to the gym alongside other cancer survivors, they become part of an incredibly strong community, supporting each other no matter what life throws their way.

Fifteen months after the closure of the original program at the University of Otago, the team of dedicated volunteers around founder Dr Lynnette Jones opened the new Dunedin center in April 2023 at its new headquarters in St Kilda. Dr. Jones and the gyms newly appointed personal trainer are seeing clients in both individual and group sessions. Clients are supervised by staff fully trained in exercise physiology and cancer recovery who are available at all times to ensure clients exercise safely and meet their prescribed exercise goals.

Survivors on active treatment for all types of cancer are referred by Te Whatu Ora Southern’s Oncology Department to the free program (up to 6 months duration), after which they can join group sessions. The gym charges a small fee per session for clients attending post-treatment group training.

say our customers:
The most amazing thing about the gym is the way the service is actually provided to the customer. It works around your life. You don’t have to explain the tears, or why you can only do half of what you normally do, or you’re twenty minutes late, or you’ve spent the last five minutes lying on the mat with your eyes closed after an easy exercise because the your body wears out No one makes you feel self-conscious. You’re not the odd one out here. It is normal. You can’t get that anywhere else. You can talk if you want to talk, or not if you don’t. But when you’re there, you know you’re part of a community, that you have support, and that you’re not alone. And you know, whether you push yourself or take it easy, you’ve shown up and done something that’s good for you. This makes you stronger, healthier and more resilient to face your cancer. No matter how you feel when you walk in, you always feel better when you walk out.

This gym helped me go from zero to hero when it comes to fitness after breast cancer. It provides a safe, non-judgmental place for those of all shapes and sizes, with or without hair, whether they’re having a good day or not. Most importantly, she supported me and laughed when I went to a dark place mentally. I found that after treatment ended I was completely without professional support and I struggled with that.

Find the challenge here:

Read the ODT story:A cancer survivor supports a gym fundraiser
See the wellness gym at Good Sorts:
More information about the Wellness Gym:

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