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Cancer patients find connection in Omaha fitness classes

Methodist Estabrook Cancer Center now holds them virtually
Posted at 4:25 AM, Jan 29, 2021

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Fitness has proven benefits for the body and mind, and it's been shown to help cancer patients deal with adverse effects from the disease and treatment. That's why Methodist Estabrook Cancer Center made an effort to bring back their wellness classes even after the pandemic temporarily halted them.

Thanks to the Methodist Hospital Foundation, they were able to buy the needed technology to now hold virtual classes.

"Life brought me to this class exactly when I needed it," said Becky Gehringer. She is a class instructor who was diagnosed with Stage 4 Synovial Sarcoma six years ago.

The trained physical therapist says these classes have allowed her to continue her passion for wellness after her job became difficult during treatment. At the same time, she's connecting with a community that understands and supports her journey. "Living in three month increments, between scans, not knowing if in three months you're going to be back on treatment or back in the hospital, having a routine and having the physical part of things is so important," she says.

Taylor Cochrane teaches yoga and meditation. She's in remission from small cell ovarian cancer. She believes fitness has helped with her health, "I think it had a huge impact on my cancer, I had less than a ten percent chance of survival past five years, and I'm still here which is a miracle here and of itself."

Participants feel inspired and connected to Taylor and Becky.

Peg Pease has taken classes since the program started in 2004. She says they have a lot of fun outside the classes through parties and fundraisers, and it's also about the friendships, "whenever you have a crisis, any crisis, it doesn't have to be cancer, we can't just sit around and wait for it to pass, what's the saying say, we have to learn to dance in the rain."

You can learn more about their classes, here.