“Climbing Higher” – a 20th Anniversary Luncheon – will be hosted on Tuesday, April 19 by Cancer Foundation For Life (CFFL) and its signature program, FitSteps for Life. The community event will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the CrossWalk Conference Center in Tyler, with registration required. Laura Young, a member of the CFFL board, serves as the luncheon chair.
Keynote speaker for the “Climbing Higher” event will be Sean Swarner, voted one of the eight most inspirational people. A two-time cancer survivor Sean has defied the odds since age 13. He’s the only person to have climbed the highest mountain on every continent, trekked to the North and South Poles, and completed the Hawaii Ironman – all with one lung.
“Sean’s message of hope through adversity will touch everyone attending the event,” noted Jennifer Selman, CFFL executive director. “His life’s focus on turning the impossible to the possible – one step at a time – fits perfectly with the mission of FitSteps for Life.”
Since 2001 the nonprofit CFFL has provided the FitSteps for Life program, with 16 FitSteps centers now located in East Texas, the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, and other Texas cities. The concept was created by the late Gary T. Kimmel, MD, who saw the power and promise of applying individualized medical exercise to persons with cancer and other serious health conditions. Upon retirement from his Tyler medical oncology
practice, Dr. Kimmel devoted the rest of his life to this intervention of an “exercise prescription,” ultimately gaining national and international attention.
According to Selman, the “Climbing Higher” luncheon will provide a platform to honor Dr. Kimmel’s legacy, to increase understanding of the essential role of medical exercise, and to profile patients who have seen their lives transformed through FitSteps for Life. The event also will recognize the generous donors who have made the FitSteps program possible to patients free of charge, for a lifetime.
Since its inception, more than 27,000 individuals have been referred to the FitSteps for Life program, which includes medical exercise centers and online resources.
“Our participants gain physical strength, endurance, and flexibility, while reducing fatigue and pain,” noted Selman. “Of equal importance, they experience decreased depression and isolation as emotional health improves in a community of people who care – from the FitSteps exercise specialists to their fellow participants. This social connection is invaluable to people dealing with serious health conditions.”
Cancer Foundation For Life networks with medical professionals, who provide FitSteps program referrals for their patients. In addition, the organization works with universities and medical research centers on studies, such as the investigation of exercise’s potential benefits during chemotherapy.
Sponsorships and tickets are available for the “Climbing Higher” luncheon. For more information on the event and Cancer Foundation For Life, call 903-561-0149 or visit www.fitstepsforlife.org.