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A Highly Successful Year for My Active Health

An entire year has passed since Ultramar's last fundraising campaign for the Breast Cancer Foundation. In November 2017, the Foundation was able to implement the My Active Health program with kinesiologist specialized in oncology Myriam Filion.

In one year, the initiative has attracted some 330 members. The program, which promotes physical activity for women fighting breast cancer and those who are in remission, has grown throughout Quebec, Ontario and the Maritimes.

We took a look back at an emotional, challenging, and successful year with the leader of the program which fights breast cancer armed with physical exercise and a healthy dose of team spirit.

A project to remember

“To me, it was a dream come true. I have always wanted to create a community and help women battling breast cancer improve their quality of life through physical activity. It’s ingrained in me, and I’m passionate about it. Today, I’m so happy to be able to pass on my knowledge and experience,” says the Quebec-native fitness expert.

Beyond being a dream come true, creating this program has yielded many other benefits. My Active Health helps women exercise at their own pace through customized workouts. “The kinesiologist specialized in the field of cancer looks at the treatment’s trajectory, the medication the patient is taking, the side effects they’ve experienced, as well as the treatments they are linked to,” adds Myriam.

Achieving big goals while remaining grounded

The program, which is almost a year old, helps women battling the disease, both from a physical and mental standpoint. However, Myriam and the other experts have set many more goals for themselves: “We’re currently putting a training program into place to provide more tools to new kinesiologists who will be working with this same clientele.”

One of the main ambitions: to reach as many communities as possible with the My Active Health program so that more breast cancer patients can benefit from it. The kinesiologist wants the program to be available in both rural areas and urban centres, and for its professionals to meet “scientific literature’s highest standards.”

To do this, several tools will be put into place, including a mobile application in the fall. It will help women work out according to their energy level and treatment phase. Myriam Filion states confidently that the goal of making My Active Health available to everyone who needs it in Quebec over the next three years is “entirely” achievable.

My Active Heatlh elsewhere in Canada

With a few variations compared to the Quebec version, the program is also available in Ontario and the Maritime provinces. “In Ontario, we’ve targeted a different clientele of women with the disease: the program has been rolled out in family medicine clinics where the women who have access to it are in the survival period, up to two years following the end of their treatment,” explains the kinesiologist, before specifying that women living with metastatic cancer also qualify.

As for women in the Maritimes, they can benefit from the program based on two criteria. “It’s a program combining kinesiology and oncology which targets women who are battling the disease, up to two years following the end of their treatment, as well as women who are currently undergoing treatment,” states Mrs. Filion.

What about the patients?

According to Myriam Filion, who has been working with them directly for almost a year, the feedback she most often receives has to do with an improvement in energy level and psychological well-being. The physical exercises suggested by the kinesiologist lead to a direct improvement in strength and cardiovascular endurance. “What I am an advocate of, and what I see being effective, are muscle-strengthening exercises,” adds Myriam. According to her, “working on muscle strength is what gives you a lot more energy and makes you feel strong.”

A deep feeling of pride and accomplishment can be felt when Myriam talks about the patients, whom she works with regularly. “I’m proud of them, of seeing what they can achieve while they’re sick and undergoing treatment. You can tell they have a strong will, and that they are putting in a lot of effort.”

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