Strong Survivors Program Moves into New Space at SIU-C

Mar 5, 2020

The SIU-Carbondale Strong Survivors Program hosted an open house Wednesday for its Cancer Rehabilitation Laboratory.

Strong Survivors Program director Phil Anton says it incorporates exercise to help cancer patients improve their quality of life. He says they tailor an exercise regimen so participants can reach their goals.

"So, if their goal is to be able to life their grandkids off the floor, to be able to play with them, that's what we do during our sessions. We work on the muscle groups, the energy systems that are going to allow them to do what they enjoy doing."

Brenda Olandez is a student staff member. She says the goal is to simply make the participants feel better by getting them up and moving.

"We do a full-body exercise, making them stronger. Working on their balance is our main focus because we see a lot of them have balance issues."

Participant Doris Wilson was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017. She worked with a trainer for a few months during her chemotherapy. Then, she started back about a month ago after completing her treatment.

"She can already see improvement in my strength and I definitely can feel improvement in my mental state. I want to exercise when I'm not even coming to work with the trainer. I feel like being more active."

The Strong Survivors operates on both the SIU-C and John A. Logan College campuses. It currently has 37 participants and around the same number of student staff members.

Anton is in the process of getting approval to name the cancer rehab lab after his cousin, Julie Honerkamp, whose cancer struggle as a teenager is the inspiration for his work in this area.

Wednesday's open house was held to introduce the new space to house the Strong Survivors Program in Rooms 123/124 at Davies Hall.