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Gratitude Fills the Air at the Cancer Exercise Celebration

Over 25 participants in the Larry Holder Cancer Exercise program were celebrated by their student instructors in a reception at the Alamosa Family Rec Center on May 4, 2023.

"I used to hate exercise. I wouldn't do it. I was afraid because I have
rheumatoid arthritis. When I decided to try it, my husband, who is also a cancer survivor, asked to come along. He's an athlete, but I'm not. Now, because of the patience of the student instructors, I like exercise! When I saw my rheumatologist and told him about the program, he was extremely encouraged and impressed that this program existed and said it is the best thing I can do. I'm in some sort of pain all the time. But after I exercise, I feel better. We are so thankful for this program,” stated one participant.

Another participant chimed in, saying, "I found the ASU students and other participants to be non-judgmental. Because of this acceptance, my confidence grew. I want to point out to others that there is no judging on your ability or progress. I encourage others to sign up for this program."

"When I started, I could only do one sit-up. Now I can do nine! I appreciate this resource, especially how everyone is so nice and encouraging. My sister joined this program with me, and it has been wonderful for both of us,” commented another grateful participant.

This exercise program for cancer survivors (or those currently diagnosed) is facilitated by Exercise Science majors at Adams State University. The student/instructors record and measure the participants’ activities, such as walking distances. They also use surveys to gauge their progress. The students have been recognized for conducting such a professional and welcoming program for the community.

Also attending the celebration were Kelly and Amanda from the SLV Foundation, ASU staff, Dr. Penny Cooper, and Danielle Smith, who started this program as a research project when she was a student as a way to honor her sister who died of cancer at the age 40.

Also in attendance were Karen Holder, widow of Larry, who "would have loved this program," and her son and his wife. Their family and friends host an annual golf tournament which raises funds to keep this program sustainable and free to the participants. The tournament in Monte Vista will be on June 24 this year.

The Alamosa Parks and Recreation department discount the facility charges to keep the program manageable. They also offer membership discounts to all of the participants.

The program grew from 22 participants in the fall to 35 in the spring. To support this program, contact the SLVH Foundation, 719-587-5707.