Physical activity can be very beneficial for people with cancer, helping to improve physical and mental health during every phase of treatment.  That is why Friends of the Cancer Centre is incredibly proud to fund Physical Activity Coach Joe Sirichas, who works with patients before, during and after treatment to help them remain as active, fit and healthy as possible. 

As part of his vital work, Joe offers a twelve-week group or one-to-one sessions with tailored support. During these sessions, Joe works to help patients increase their fitness, strength, posture, mobility and flexibility.  This can be very beneficial for patients, helping them reduce the side effects of treatment and improve their post treatment recovery. 

One of those who has benefitted from Joe’s support is Peter Newman from Belfast.  Explaining the impact Joe has had on his fitness and wellbeing, Peter said:

“After hormone therapy and radiotherapy for prostate cancer in 2022, I had lost considerable muscle strength, particularly in my legs.  Prior to treatment, I had been a keen runner, doing the 5k Park Run.  The side-effects of the treatment meant that I was not able to run at all, indeed at times walking was a bit of a struggle!

“In March 2023, I was referred to the 12-week cancer exercise programme, which is run by Friends of the Cancer Centre’s Physical Activity Coach Joe Sirichas.  After four weekly online sessions with Joe, I had already developed enough strength to begin running again, using the NHS Couch to 5K plan.  It was not easy, but as the online sessions continued with Joe, my legs got stronger and my stamina also increased.  I was able to eventually reach the 5K target.”

Peter with Friends of the Cancer Centre's Physical Activity Coach, Joe Sirichas

“At the end of the 12 online sessions with Joe, I completed the 5K Park Run in June 2023, for the first time since August 2022.  There is no way that I would have had the physical strength to achieve this without the cancer exercise programme.

“I was also helped and supported by the 5k Your Way – Move Against Cancer group, made up of cancer patients along with families, friends and health professionals who once a month make their own way at a Park Run.  They clapped me over the finish line!

“Joe Sirichas has since referred me on to the Move More Programme for cancer patients which is funded by Macmillan Cancer Support.  This consists of quite intensive circuit training in local leisure centres.  I could not have dreamed of doing this without the benefit of Joe’s programme.  Together, both programmes have shown the importance of exercise and activity in helping my recovery process after cancer diagnosis and treatment.

“The support provided by Friends of the Cancer Centre is vital and I am incredibly grateful to everyone who donates and raises money for such an important cause.”

If you would like to avail of Joe’s support, either in-person or online, please ask your treatment team for details or to make a referral for you.  Joe has also developed online classes to support patients which you can access via the charity’s YouTube channel below.

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