FIERCE: Functional & Fit, Independent, Energized, Restored, Confident & Empowered® is a concept that applies to overall health and well-being to foster activity, independence and quality of life.
It is also the name of a hybrid exercise class and support group for cancer survivors in Fort Collins, Colorado. Listening to survivors in my community, I heard a need for a support group that didn’t involve sitting around and rehashing the same old issues all the time. There were people who felt they would like the support and companionship of others who shared their experiences, but wanted a positive focus and physical activity.
I spoke with Martin Johns, General Manager of Raintree Athletic Club, who was enthusiastic about the idea and offered his support. His generous offer of a private, welcoming, and comfortable place to hold the class allowed the idea to take hold and move forward. The first FIERCE class was held in October of 2014.
FIERCE now has a consistent and loyal following. The group is structured to provide gentle, adaptable exercise to improve flexibility range of motion, and strength that can be done with no equipment and only a chair. FIERCE also includes aerobic walking and offers frequent guest speakers on topics related to cancer survivors’ concerns. Different methods of therapeutic exercise, along with discussion other aspects of physical and psychological well-being, are presented each time.
The other benefit of FIERCE is that members have access to a number of resources and interaction with a professional oncology nurse and cancer coach facilitating the class. Members learn something to take away that improves quality of life, ability to advocate for themselves in their health care, and hear about additional community resources available to meet their needs.
The primary purpose of FIERCE is to provide support and increase physical activity for cancer survivors. Another important aim of FIERCE is to bridge the gap between medical care and community resources. Cancer survivorship support is a community-wide need that requires the participation of patients, fitness and health professionals, and medical professionals. With over fifteen million cancer survivors in the U.S., physicians and patients alike need to support and participate in these programs.
Check back for more updates on FIERCE!