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For the Claremont Club, Community Service is Key

Fitness is all-inclusive. Cancer does not discriminate either.

A remarkable woman once said, “Exercising isn’t about how much more somebody can bench-press after 10 weeks. It is about people realizing that they can regain some control of their own bodies…because when you’re a patient you have no control.”

This is how Julie Main, former IHRSA Board Chairperson and convention speaker, felt in 1993 when she was diagnosed with and treated for breast cancer.  During her treatment, Main exercised physical and mental poise to keep up her strength. Put simply, she credited exercise as the solution to staying healthy.

A year later, Main helped to develop a Cancer Well-fit program with help from the local community medical associations.  Speaking to the crowd at the IHRSA convention, she stressed the importance of having an active presence in the community and emphasized that anyone is capable of being physically active.

Denise Johnson, Wellness Director at the Claremont Club, sees the passion and purpose in Main’s words realized in the work that she does at her club every day.  It was after hearing Main speak, that the Claremont Club decided that it was time for them to begin offering similar programming.

“We thought the Cancer Well-fit program was awesome,” says Johnson, “We got more information from Julie, added and changed some things to make the program our own, and were able to partner with a local hospital to get started.”   

Since then, the club has joined with the Robert and Beverly Lewis Cancer Care Center to create the “Living Well After Cancer” Program. Funded by private donations and the club’s Art of Giving event this initiative works to improve the fitness levels of cancer survivors in the hopes of increasing quality of life and boosting self-esteem levels. The program is offered at no cost to cancer survivors or their families and more than 500 survivors have participated to date.

Participants meet at the club twice a week for thirteen weeks and participate in exercise classes that include yoga, pilates, Zumba, aqua aerobics, cardio dance, hula hooping, and more. In addition, certified trainers and dieticians oversee the participants and are always available to provide personalized training techniques and guidance on healthy eating habits. Support group meetings are also offered as part of the recovery process and these extra resources add to the standard of care that is readily available.

Claremont is also excited to announce that they have added a male LWAC program and currently offer massages to participants and are looking to implement additional services for survivors in the future – including visits from estheticians and massage therapists.

“Every time we host the 13 week program, we discover something else that we should add,” says Johnson.  

And the Claremont Club is looking to build upon their commendable community outreach initiatives in the future. They have no intention of slowing down.

In addition to enhancing previously established programs, the club is also looking to create brand new programming within the next year.

In September, they will be offering their first program for those living with diabetes. For 6 weeks participants will have the chance to meet with a registered dietitian to discuss managing blood sugar, dealing with stress, meal planning, healthy eating, preventing or dealing with complications, and becoming more knowledgeable about the benefits of exercise in relation to living with the disease. The exercise component is especially notable since many programs of this kind do not offer anything of this sort.

In April, the club began a pediatric cancer program and is helping children and their families struggling with this debilitating disease a safe haven and a place to reconnect.

“Community outreach gives meaning to what we do,” Johnson says, “If you are not currently offering programming such as this, then you are missing out.”

Support from the community is essential for the Claremont Club. These efforts are about starting small and gradually expanding to successfully spread the importance behind building a culture and community of wellness.

That being said, Claremont’s mission starts with making exercise easily accessible and fun for everyone.

Echoing the thoughts of Main, Johnson says, “Exercise should not be limited to the able-bodied. It should be for everybody.” 


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