Battle Cancer Program Provides Fitness Support to Post-Cancer Athletes
On January 18, Scott and Freya Britton of the Battle Cancer movement launched the Battle Cancer Program, a global, free, 12-week strength and fitness support program designed for those in post-cancer treatment.
Remind me: Battle Cancer, a movement created to raise money and awareness for cancer charities, was started in 2017. The movement, built on one-day competitions, launched fundraising for the Battle Cancer Program in 2020.
The program: The Battle Cancer Program offers a strength and fitness course, both online and in-person at some of the top gyms in the UK and US, for post-cancer athletes.
- The recently-launched program is based on research from the MOVE Forward initiative, a 10-week study of the impact of CrossFit on the “fitness and quality of life with teenage and young adult cancer survivors,” as well as consultation from Dr. Colin Robertson, a specialist in pre and rehabilitation from disease with two-decades of experience in cancer care and sport and Executive Director of the Underground Training Station Foundation.
- MOVE Forward calls CrossFit a “suitable method of exercise” for young cancer survivors and in the 10-week exercise program, saw improvement of physical, social, and cognitive functioning and a reduction of fatigue and appetite loss, among other findings.
- “What struck me immediately about the Battle Cancer Program initiative was the sense of vitality backed by structured exercise programming. The programming that has been put in place for Battle Cancer Program members is empowering, evidence-based, and most importantly effective,” said Dr. Robertson in a press release.
In the UK: CrossFit Games athlete Samantha Briggs is hosting the program at her gym, Train Manchester.
- “We wanted to get TRAIN involved because we believe the community can help people affected by cancer to know they are not alone,” Briggs said in a release. “The community we have built can provide a safe place for everyone to train and just be themselves, it can help people forget their personal struggles for that hour and just feel normal again.”
- Other participating gyms are: WIT in London, Forest Flow CrossFit in Lancaster, Move Forward Gym in Ottery St Mary, and Go Train East Rocks in Scotland.
- “I am excited to be part of the team that will support those who are battling cancer to develop a fitness and nutrition lifestyle to serve them well for the rest of their lives,” said CrossFit Invictus Coach Fritz Nugent in a press release.
The details: The Battle Cancer Program is designed to help improve strength and fitness from any level, to help individuals become “fit for life.” Registration is open for the in-person courses and online program.
- In participating gyms, the course will last 12 weeks and is built “with survivors in mind,” building community through shared experiences.
- At the end of the program, there is an opportunity for one attendee to receive a fitness coach qualification. This individual will then commit to supporting the next community of survivors, eventually creating what Battle Cancer calls an “army of fitness professionals ready to rebuild people physically, mentally and emotionally.”
- Physical progress will be tracked through simple tests of grip strength, resting heart rate, balance, and more. The World Health Organization’s Quality of Life questionnaire will be used to assess changes in mental and emotional health.
- In-person courses are limited to 12 participants and will have varying start dates based on COVID restrictions.
- The same programming is provided to online participants through videos and photos. Online programming will be housed on the organization’s remote coaching platform, Fitr Training, allowing remote users the chance to connect with a global community of Battle Cancer members. Currently, the virtual program is only offered in English.
- Online participants will be encouraged to complete the same tests as the in-person attendees.
The Battle Cancer Program relies on donations to fund its initiatives. Through their current fundraiser, they’re hoping to raise €60,000 to support their free programs.
The bottom line: Scott Britton, founder of Battle Cancer, says the new programming is “the very first step in creating a worldwide network of fitness professionals and an online community ready to support those post-cancer treatment.”
- “When people undergo or complete treatment for cancer they’re often left to return to ‘life as usual,’ but for them, that no longer exists,” writes the Battle Cancer team.
With the continuing pandemic, this network is even more important, giving cancer survivors a system of support designed to help them adapt, physically and mentally, in an unusual world.