Charity spotlight: Cyclists Fighting Cancer
(CFC) has for the past fifteen years been encouraging exercise, primarily cycling, as the best form of exercise-based rehabilitation for children and young adults both during and after cancer treatment.
Appropriate levels of exercise have been shown in numerous studies to be the single most effective way of improving both physical and mental wellness for people surviving cancer. A minimum of 30 minutes’ moderate exercise/activity four or five days a week have been proven to provide the following benefits:
- Improved quality of life – helps maintain a level of aerobic fitness, mobility and strength
- Improved levels of self-esteem – gives back a sense of control
- Reduced intensity and delayed onset of Cancer Related Fatigue
- Reduced incidence of secondary cancers by 50%
- More effective response to treatment
CFC’s aim is to promote a healthy active lifestyle at an early age which also means these practices will be carried on into adulthood and establish good life-long habits.
The support of Club Peloton over the past two years has been invaluable. The £80,000 raised by Club Peloton’s fundraising efforts has enabled CFC to increase its network of Cancer Exercise Specialists (CES) from two to a team of six.
Cancer Exercise Specialists
The role of Cancer Exercise Specialists is vital within the charity. The CES are specially trained to work closely with the 21 paediatric oncology units throughout the UK, promoting the benefits of fitness and exercise to both health professionals and families using their services, and ultimately significantly increasing the number of bikes/trikes CFC awards to children living with cancer and their families. The work of Cancer Exercise Specialists include:
- Tailor-made fitness programmes
- Specialist workshops
- Attending end of treatment days
- Providing information on healthy eating and diet
- Supporting parents so they can take part in an activity as a family once again after what can be years of hospitalisation and upheaval
As a direct result of increased engagement with the UK’s paediatric oncology units, the number of bikes/trikes CFC has awarded to children living with and beyond cancer has risen significantly:
- 2017 – 600 bikes/trikes
- 2018 – 700 bikes/trikes
- 2019 – 900 bikes/trikes
Cancer causes massive disruption in families, therefore not only does CFC award a bike to the child undergoing treatment for cancer, where possible it also gives bikes to their siblings and, in many cases, the parents too.
Exercise equipment for paediatric oncology units
CFC has also provided several hospital units (incl. Birmingham Children’s Hospital) with exercise equipment for physiotherapists to use with the children undergoing treatment. This further enhances and promotes the message that exercise and activity has positive outcomes for children living with cancer.
“We are a small charity making a big difference to arguably the most vulnerable people in our society, children with cancer. The support from Club Peloton since day one has enabled us to plan and achieve our goals in respect of hospital visits, and quite simply has meant we have increased applications for our services by fifty percent over the past two years,” comments Mike Grisenthwaite, CEO, Cyclists Fighting Cancer.