In today’s healthcare environment of short appointments and rushed encounters, combined with an overabundance of information online, Cancer Harbors is a much-needed complement to a doctor’s care.
It takes a holistic approach to rebuild overall well-being, functioning, and quality of life. By listening, supporting you in your concerns, and simplifying complex information you get from doctors, Cancer Harbors creates a restorative environment in your life, laying the groundwork for true recovery and healing.
Instead of addressing everything with medication and rehabilitation in a clinical setting with reminders of treatment experiences, many people simply need help focusing on their own unique, individual needs, interests, and priorities, sorting out the confusion that can result from cancer or other chronic disease treatment.
Taking action, whether in the form of exercise, mental activities, learning, being outdoors, or creating, is good for the body and the mind. Cancer Harbors is a skill-based service, giving you tools that help you feel better and ease back into life after cancer.
Cancer Harbors helps members learn to manage their overall health with independence and confidence so they can have better results from their efforts to stay well.
Meet Cancer Harbors Founder and CEO
Cancer Harbors was founded by Alene Nitzky to assist people in gaining more control over restoring their health and life after cancer treatment.
As a healthcare consumer, personal trainer, patient, and nurse herself, Alene discovered firsthand the need for communicating health information in a way that can be understood and applied to one’s lifestyle.
As a personal trainer working with clients with chronic health conditions, her clients expressed the difficulty of getting help with their health conditions beyond their medications. If the drugs didn’t take their complaints away, they feared being called hypochondriacs. They wanted to feel better but they didn’t know where to start, and they weren’t finding the answers in a doctor’s appointment.
As an athlete diagnosed with thyroid disease, Alene struggled to get back to the high level of performance and function she was used to. She only got relief when she found a doctor who, instead of paying attention to lab values, listened to her, treating her as a person, not as a disease.
Later, as an oncology nurse, she recognized the disruption to her patients’ lives that cancer treatment caused, including their families’ routines and needs. Lingering effects after treatment could continue for months or even years, which was something they were not prepared for. Yet after finishing treatment, patients felt lost and abandoned by their treatment team, fearful the cancer might come back, and not knowing how to cope with the ongoing fatigue and other symptoms they had. After attending support groups and listening to patients and cancer survivors in the community, on social media, and her own immediate family members with cancer, she developed Cancer Harbors to address the gaps in personalized needs for survivorship care.
Alene brings a broad array of experience to her health coaching expertise. She holds a doctorate in recreation resources from Colorado State University, where she studied health benefits of leisure. Alene has taught kinesiology, wellness, and fitness at the college level, coached collegiate cross-country and track, and worked with individual runners of all ages. She has also worked as a personal trainer for women aged 40-80 with chronic health conditions.
Alene is an ACE® certified health coach and an ACSM/American Cancer Society certified cancer exercise trainer. A registered nurse who has worked in critical care and outpatient oncology settings, Alene maintains her certification in oncology. A Nightingale Award nominee for advocacy, she is passionate about helping those who have been through cancer treatment restore their well-being. Alene has been speaking and writing about running, fitness, wellness, and health care to various groups and organizations for more than 20 years.
She writes about running, fitness, and health care, and her work has appeared in guest blogposts, book chapters, Kevin MD, The Coloradoan, Ultrarunning Magazine, Runners’ World, Barefoot Running U.K., and other print and online publications. She has been a monthly columnist on running for The Coloradoan, Fort Collins, Colorado’s local paper, and a blogger on cancer survivorship and wellness for the Oncology Nursing Society. An accomplished ultraendurance athlete, she maintains her own blog, Journey to Badwater, about ultramarathon running and life, and paints southwestern landscapes in pastel.
The question that needs to be asked is, “How are you feeling, functioning, and re-adjusting to everyday life as a result of cancer?”Alene Nitzky