Diamond Creek Community Centre member, Jess Bailey, says the gym’s group fitness classes helped her through her breast cancer diagnosis and rehabilitation.
In October 2020 Jess, then 27, should have been preparing to return to her grade 2 classroom after nearly three months of remote teaching. Instead, she faced the prospect of surgery followed by intense rounds of chemotherapy and radiation. She recalls that it all started with a whirlwind life-upending fortnight of tests and surgery to remove all of her lymph nodes.
“It all happened so quickly there wasn’t a lot of time to process everything. It was straight into surgery, straight into chemo, straight into radiation,” she said.
“I had six weeks off with each surgery and it just killed me. I loved the gym and it was my escape,” she said.
I think the gym made the biggest difference. Seeing other people that I know go through chemo, they just have not coped as well with the side effects. I think having the routine and having the determination and having the community at the gym made a really big difference.
Jess Bailey, Diamond Creek Community Centre Member
Jess’ doctors aren’t alone in encouraging her to continue her fitness activities. In 2018, the Australian Cancer Council called for every cancer patient to be prescribed exercise as part of their treatment plan, with organisations worldwide echoing this call.
Group Fitness Captain Dan Koster also credits Jess’ positive attitude to helping her overall recovery.
“I’ve probably known Jess for 6 or 7 years through the gym. She tries everything and she tries hard, she’s always happy and has a smile on her face.”
Article authored by Katy Gale, La Trobe University