Pool course on again
Breast cancer sufferers are invited to dip their toes into a therapeutic swimming programme at Kenepuru Hospital next month.
Seven spaces are still available on the YWCA’s Encore programme, open to women who have had mastectomies or lumpectomies.
The 14-strong group will meet to swim, socialise and hear nurses, nutritionists and lingerie specialists speak.
Gentle water exercises based on ballet moves plus stretching and meditation make for a relaxing workout, and members are given pampering gifts like hairdressing vouchers and make-up, says Porirua Encore coordinator Cathy Tia.
‘‘As a woman if you’re sick or not sick, you’re constantly putting others first. We completely make them feel like they’re queens,’’ Mrs Tia says.
‘‘It’s a free programme. Don’t be afraid, it’s just women, it’s a safe environment, it’s a humorous environment.’’
It doesn’t matter how long ago members had cancer – symptoms like swollen lymph glands can present 20 years after surgery, Mrs Tia says. ‘‘They can [join] whether they had breast cancer 50 years ago, or whether they’re eight weeks post-surgery.’’
The therapeutic pool at Kenepuru is wheelchair-accessible, and the warm water does wonders for post-surgery bodies.
Fun and laughter is a big feature of meetings; it’s called Encore because people want to come back, Mrs Tia says.
‘‘In past programmes life-long friendships have been formed.’’
Mrs Tia and Belinda Clark formed the Porirua branch of Encore 18 months ago, and this will be the third eight- week course they have run.
Neither woman has had breast cancer but Mrs Tia has a background in physical education and nutrition, and both are passionate about nurturing women in their time of need.
‘‘We just see so much growth from these women and get so much joy out of them,’’ Mrs Tia says.