Winona State: A Community Fighting Against Cancer

WSU student and community member at IWC

We’re on Team Health!

February is not only the month of love, but it is also National Cancer Prevention Month. Over half of all men and one-third of all women in the United States will develop cancer during their lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society. These people could be your grandpa, mom, sibling, family friend, teacher, anyone. Cancer effects more than it’s patients, it effects our entire community which is why we need to help in every way we can.

Winona State Warriors are teaming up with local health establishments to help the fight against cancer for the second time. Starting February 11th, WSU Health, Exercise and Rehabilitative Science undergrads plan to help cancer patients from Gunderson Lutheran Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders along with Winona Health on their road to recovery and healthy living.

This program provided by Winona State students lasts 12 weeks and is intended to help patients maintain or improve their strength, endurance, flexibility and wellness following treatment.

“Each survivor is assigned one or two personal student trainers. We start our morning by taking resting blood pressure and heart rate, and then warming up with some basic lymphedema stretches. The students lead their survivors through a 40 minute individualized exercise regimen, which includes aerobic, resistance and balance exercises. Oftentimes, the students will do the exercises along with the survivors,” said Kasia Kilijanek, in her reflection on the program in her blog post.

Though we could see these routines as minor for the average individual, these exercise programs help the confidence and overall physical health of cancer survivors. “Without this program I don’t know if I could have done it all by myself,” said Mary Rohrer, past participant. “Exercise in a group–all of whom have experienced the same disease–is a double dividend in giving me the motivation to not only get moving but keep moving!”

At Winona State, we are a community of learners dedicated to improving our world, and this program is an example of the difference we can make. These students are giving others a second chance at a happy and healthy life.

–Cassie Tokach

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