A breast cancer survivor is encouraging people with a recent experience of cancer to sign-up for a free physical activity programme being offered by Albion in the Community (AITC).
Heidi Bachram attended Brighter Outlook – a free, ten-week course delivered by AITC, funded by NHS Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group and supported by Macmillan Cancer Support.
The 44-year-old from Brighton was full of praise for the team behind Brighter Outlook and said attending the sessions had played a key part in restoring her confidence in the aftermath of cancer treatment.
She said: “I think the Albion in the Community coaches are a gift from angels. They do an incredible job.
“When you get discharged from the hospital your treatment is over and there is nothing after that. It is really good that Brighter Outlook can kick in as an alternative after treatment and to help you actually getting back into life again.”
Now in its second year, Brighter Outlook has already helped more than 200 people to become more physically active.
Research has shown that in most cases staying active during cancer treatment is safe and also has a host of positive impacts on health and fitness, including reduced fatigue, improved mood and decreased risk of the cancer reoccurring.
Brighter Outlook offers a variety of free to access activity options for people to suit all ages and abilities, from budding runners to seated circuits.
Richard Simcock, a local consultant oncologist, has certainly been impressed by the programme. He has referred a number of patients in the direction of Brighter Outlook and explained: “The number one problem our patients have after treatment is fatigue and the best treatment for that problem is exercise. Having a structured, safe and sympathetic programme that patients can participate in has been hugely helpful and the approach of tailoring the exercise to the individual’s needs has proven particularly useful.
“There is mounting data that in many circumstances exercise after cancer will not only improve wellbeing but also improve survival so it’s vitally important to support the patient into exercise and that is what Brighter Outlook does so well. “
Heidi Bachram was in no doubt about the impact Brighter Outlook has had on her life. She said: “I think if I hadn’t come to Brighter Outlook I would still be really lacking in confidence about my body, about what it can do now, about the damage that had been done to it.
“The coaches are really careful and cautious but encouraging at the same time and it’s a really nice balance so you feel really confident in their care and you trust them completely. I totally recommend Brighter Outlook. I wish everybody could do it. It was so profound and simple an intervention at just the right moment.”