I was first exposed to Moving For Life (MFL) through my endless late night hours of Internet research, desperately trying to find an organization, institute or even a person that works with cancer patients through exercise. I knew it existed and I knew the remarkable positive impact movement has on those going through treatment and recovery, but finding the right source was certainly a mission. Till one day I came across a non-profit organization that was founded by reputable professionals comprised of breast cancer survivors, movement therapists, psychologists, medical doctors and concerned physicians. Their personal stories initiated the creation of Moving For Life – a healthy exercise program medically endorsed by numerous surgeons, oncologists and social workers (and engaged in research with NYU Langone Medical Center), that uses gentle aerobics, dance and fitness related exercises to help regain immunity, mental and physical strength while fighting all symptoms of treatment such as fatigue, neuropathy, lymphedema and an overall depleted self. I immediately wrote an email to MFL all the way from India, one that could be considered very far from a formal introductory description of my professional credibilities and very close to an informal personal story from the heart. I hardly expected a response, but to my surprise I got it soon after from a woman named Martha. I then learnt in the coming weeks that Dr. Martha Eddy, one of the co-founders of MFL is a reputable Exercise Physiologist, and Registered Movement Therapist (RSMT) with a doctorate from Columbia University in Movement Science and Education and a world-renowned dance educator. She was one of the early founders of the cancer exercise profession. I started to recognize how fortunate I was to be in such distinguished company.
Along with training to be a cancer exercise specialist I also train to be an MFL teacher and attend the free MFL classes that are offered for patients and their loved ones around New York City, (as well as Cincinnati, Canada and Tokyo). At my first class, what was actually a one-hour session seemed to fly by. The energy in the room was exuberant. Amongst the cancer survivors, there were of course those who were slightly less physically active and some who had more energy than usual, but everyone shared the enthusiasm. The MFL routine is adaptable to all and makes every single person feel elated, joyous and energetic in their own way. I remember walking out of this first MFL class and thinking, “wow, what a feel good session”. It got me moving, dancing and exercising without realizing it for even a second. I love that MFL focuses on feelings more than doing and ironically makes us do so much more than we thought we could. MFL not only caters to those suffering or recovering from cancer, but anyone who wants to get healthy. Now acclaimed medical professionals have recognized MFL’s potential for helping in cancer prevention, general wellbeing, and dealing with other chronic conditions. The overarching goal of MFL has been declared as MFL DanceExercise for Health®, promoting wellness for all. However the work with cancer recovery is still a primary focus. Indeed MFL has created its own DVD – Dance To Recovery For Breast Cancer Survivors– available in a Spanish version as well (VIVA!), and can actually be done by anyone in the comfort of your own home from any end of the world. A new DVD that provides gentle “wake-up exercises” for all is being edited now.
Today, after spending a couple of months with the organization providing some help in my limited way, I am overwhelmed by not only what Moving For Life endorses but the degree to which the leadership of Moving For Life (the founders, teachers, board members, and other volunteers) plays such an active role in providing selfless help to those who need it most – people from all walks of life including those in dire economic states. My partial knowledge in blogs urged me to offer assistance in doing the same for MFL and pondered on what should be the “launch” blog topic for a long time. We had gathered up stories and themes. The list included research articles to personal survivor stories to introducing the organization and the people behind it. When I sat down to write however, I felt a desire to speak about my personal experience with Moving For Life – a community that has taught me a great deal. I hope sharing my experiences of MFL with you will encourage you to take active initiative. We will be sharing the full range of expertise based in the winning combination of real-life experience and state of the art research, and other inspiring stories.
Those who know me well also know that I would never use a public platform in promoting anything that has no value or worth in doing so. I come from a marketing background and I dislike marketing. But I find it imperative to pay due respect to Moving For Life because what they do is changing so many lives, can change yours and has most definitely changed mine.
For more information you can visit http://www.movingforlife.org
To find DVDs please click one of the following links: