People suffering with cancer in the Rickmansworth area are being encouraged to help themselves through exercising with residents going through similar difficulties.
5k Your Way, Move Against Cancer is a national organisation that has branches in different areas across the country.
A Rickmansworth 5k Your Way branch was set up by local resident and former breast cancer sufferer, Juliet FitzPatrick, to bring local people together and help them keep as fit as possible through their darkest periods.
The group invites those living with and beyond cancer, their families, friends and those working in cancer services to walk, jog, run, cheer or volunteer at a local group linked to a parkrun event on the last Saturday of every month and then socialise after over drink and cake in the local café.
Juliet said: “I’ve always been a sporty and active person, playing all the sports in school. I was especially good at hockey and carried that on at university. Tennis and running were my go to sports once I became a mum.
“I was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2016 when I was 54. I had chemotherapy, a year of Herceptin injections and two mastectomies. I decided against reconstruction and now live flat, without breasts. That has certainly made it easier to exercise! I’m currently clear of cancer.”
Once Julie finished her treatment, she was desperate to get active again but struggled to find a place to exercise near her that was fitting for someone recovering from cancer. She took up Nordic walking and found it fantastic for her physical and mental wellbeing.
She continued: “I was thrilled to learn of 5K Your Way, Move Against Cancer, a national initiative which combines a cancer support group with parkrun. I knew straight way that I wanted to be an ambassador and set up the Rickmansworth group.”
Physical activity has been shown to have a number of important benefits for people living with cancer. It reduces cancer related fatigue, helps to preserve cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness and improves psychological well-being. However, an NHS report found that only 23 per cent of people living with cancer achieve the recommended 30 minutes of moderate activity five times per week.
Go to 5kyourway.org for more information or search Rickmansworth 5k Your Way on Facebook.