More than 400 county cancer patients have already been supported back into ‘normal life’ thanks to a rehabilitation partnership between the region’s main cancer charity, and local health experts.
The iCan Cancer Rehabilitation course, is funded by long-running Lingen Davies Cancer Fund as part of a three-year agreement with the dedicated team of professionals at Lifestyle Fitness. Launched in the summer of 2022 the free-to-access course involves an initial five-week programme to help people rebuild, maintain, or improve physical fitness and wellbeing, as well as learn more about areas such as nutrition, fatigue management, strength, and mindfulness. Ongoing support and advice is provided for up to 12 months.
In-person sessions are currently delivered in Shrewsbury, Telford, and Oswestry, and will be rolled out in Mid Wales soon. People can also opt to attend online.
Gareth Mapp, Director of Lifestyle Fitness which delivers iCan, said: “We have developed this programme based upon work with Cancer patients over the last 12 years and believe iCan should be a key part of everyone’s cancer pathway before, during, and after treatments, whenever they feel ready. Alongside Lingen Davies, we are there to support people physically and mentally. There is strong evidence that proves how important a programme like this is to help those living with and beyond cancer. Our evidence from iCan clearly shows that taking part improves confidence, motivation, wellbeing, reduces fatigue and provides the chance to form friendships with others.
“The shared experience is very important,” he added.
Patient Ruth Hall from Shrewsbury was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2022 after finding a lump in her breast, she discovered iCan in May 2023.
“I felt a little bit unsure walking in the room, I didn’t really know what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised,” she said.
“The exercises are the sort of thing you can do at home, nothing too strenuous. Everyone’s been very encouraging, and I’ve found it very motivating to be reminded that I can do this.”
Lynne Jones, from Bomere Heath, has had two separate cancer diagnoses, and has most recently been treated for Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, completing her chemotherapy earlier this Summer.
“I’ve injured myself previously exercising at home and it’s important to me to stay active so I was I was very proactive finding exercise during my treatment. I finished my chemotherapy three weeks before I came along to iCan. By week three my confidence in my physical abilities had grown, and I was able to get out and about. I was too afraid to do that before iCan because I didn’t feel I could trust my body.
“It’s been an absolute game changer. I’m more than happy with the iCan course, I tell everyone about it, it’s so effective,” she added.
Emma Backhouse, Interim CEO of Lingen Davies, said when the iCan programme was presented to Lingen Davies it was a perfect fit for funding and supporting the charity’s work.
“We exist to enhance the situation for those going through treatment – and living with it and beyond. We want to make the transition for people readjusting to a ‘normal’ life as easy as possible and the ICan programme takes a well-planned, structured, and holistic approach to the rehabilitation of many people.
“We’re delighted to have been able to support this many people so far and would encourage anyone impacted by cancer to get in touch with the team and take part themselves,” she said.
Self-referral is available onto the ICan course – as well as through medical support. For more information about the free-to-access course contact 07746 462456 or email email@example.com
Pictured: Patients Ruth Hall and Lynne Jones with Gareth Mapp and Kim Bebbington from iCan, and Emma Backhouse from Lingen Davies.