University of Calgary

University of Calgary

September 13, 2011 11:28 ET

University of Calgary: A place to call their own

University of Calgary THRIVE Centre provides wellness haven for cancer patients and survivors

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Sept. 13, 2011) - It's a typical Thursday morning at the University of Calgary Thrive Centre in the Faculty of Kinesiology. A handful of patients are going through their paces under the watchful eye of personal trainers. It looks a lot like any other gym in the city, with one important difference - everyone here is either a cancer patient, or a cancer survivor and each one is fighting to regain their health and to improve their chances of avoiding a recurrence in the future.

"The research is fairly compelling in this area," says Nicole Culos-Reed, a Kinesiology researcher, and Director of the Thrive Centre. "Exercise is one of the most important things that a cancer patient or survivor can do – emotionally and physically to regain their health and to keep their health in the future."

In many ways the Thrive Centre is the culmination of many years of research in Culos-Reed's lab, and the next step in her crusade to make exercise an important part of cancer recovery. "Based on the evidence, I think it's important to have exercise programs, like our Yoga Thrive program, and exercise centres like this one, become part of our health care system. It's not a cost, it's an investment - just ask some of the people who use Thrive on a regular basis."

One of the Thrive Centre regulars, cancer survivor Noel Foggo-Lamoureux, enthusiastically agrees, "Pinch me so I know it's true! After a gruelling cancer experience, it can be challenging to believe that good things will happen. But, at the Thrive Centre, I can exercise in a sanitized, immune-sensitive environment, meet other survivors who are truly thriving and be supported by incredibly knowledgeable staff - all in one sunny location. What a relief to step into this exercise room, where head bandannas and an individualized pace are normal, and know that I'm actually taking steps into my future where it's possible for me to become fitter and stronger than ever before."

Culos-Reed's Thrive Centre is the latest initiative to put her research into practice. Prior to this she has done extensive work examining the emotional and physical benefits of exercise for cancer patients and developed a targeted 12 week Yoga therapy program for cancer survivors and patients called Yoga Thrive. She says besides providing a further hub for her research in the area, the Centre allows her to return her research knowledge to the community. "We know that exercise is crucial for cancer survivors," says Culos-Reed, "Thrive is an example of how to support them as they make important first steps back to better health."

The Thrive Centre was made possible in part through funds provided by Dr. Christine Friedenreich and The Alberta Cancer Foundation. The Imperial Oil Foundation donated $250,000 to the Alberta Cancer Foundation, specifically for the Molecular Cancer Epidemiology Research Program. Those funds were used to outfit the Thrive Centre and Culos-Reed's lab in the faculty of Kinesiology with exercise equipment. "We are very grateful for Imperial Oil's generous contribution," says Culos-Reed. "Their donation to the Alberta Cancer Foundation helped to purchase the crucial exercise equipment that allowed us to open the Thrive Centre much sooner than would have been otherwise possible."

The Centre is free and available for use by cancer patients, survivors and their support people. Exercise specialists and volunteers with specific cancer and exercise training monitor the gym. For more information people can call 403-210-8482, email:, or visit:

Media availability:

Dr. Culos-Reed will be available for scheduled interviews in the Thrive Centre, Tuesday September 13th, between 10am and 12:30pm. The Thrive Centre is adjacent to the University of Calgary Outdoor Centre, in the Faculty of Kinesiology, by the Olympic Oval. An official opening event, with photo opportunities will take place at 11am.

Also Available: cancer patients Doug McIlwrick and Debra Dolsky who use the Centre regularly and University of Calgary, Kinesiology undergraduates who volunteer as personal trainers for the Centre.

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