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Bank Grant Supports Fitness Classes For Norwalk Cancer Patients

Adult cancer patients at Norwalk Hospital will be offered free exercise classes thanks to a grant from Bankwell, a Connecticut-based bank.
Adult cancer patients at Norwalk Hospital will be offered free exercise classes thanks to a grant from Bankwell, a Connecticut-based bank. Photo Credit: File

NORWALK, CONN. -- A grant from a local bank has enabled Norwalk Hospital to offer a free fitness class to cancer patients, hospital officials said.

Bankwell, a Connecticut-based commercial bank, is helping to fund the free 12-week program, they said.

The hospital’s Whittingham Cancer Center and the Smilow Family Breast Health Center will partner with the Riverbrook Regional YMCA to host the program at its fitness center.

It will be taught by certified cancer exercise specialists.

“We know that cancer can be frightening and that exercise gives patients a way to help themselves,” said Dr. Richard Zelkowitz, medical director of the Smilow Breast Health Center and chief of hematology/oncology at Norwalk Hospital.

According to Mary Heery, breast health specialist, exercise can reduce treatment side effects and help patients battle fatigue.

Not only can patients regain their self-confidence and boost their moods, Heery said, they can improve their quality of life by improving cardiovascular fitness, flexibility and muscle mass.

Patients must be treated at Norwalk Hospital and have a medical release from their physician in order to participate, program organizers said.

Similar programs are also offered through other YMCA partners in Westport, Darien, New Canaan, and Wilton.

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