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Local nonprofit helping cancer patients stay fit while quarantined

FitSteps for Life brings health and fitness directly to patients through Facebook.

TYLER, Texas — With many under quarantine, staying healthy is vitally important during the pandemic. However, it is even more important for patients battling cancer.

FitSteps for Life is a non-profit organization that works with cancer patients to provide cancer exercise treatment. The organization prescribes individualized and structured exercise treatment specifically for cancer patients, according to its website

The treatments are free for the lifetime of the patient. 

"Everyone comes in with different goals, different level of activity, different diagnosis so we really do tailor them to exactly what their needs are," Courtney Bowers, clinical manager of FitSteps for Life, said. 

The non-profit provides exercises that include aerobic exercise, resistance training and core strengthening, along with upper and lower body stretching techniques.

As many of their centers close, amid the coronavirus, to protect the health of their patients the organization has moved to provide unique ways to provide their patients with the same care. 

"Some of the ways we’re doing that is having our exercise specialist contact all of their patients from their centers directly through a phone call, they're facilitating any exercise needs they may have over that phone call, whether it be an explanation of how to carry out an exercise giving them practical ways to exercise at home different things like that," Bowers said. "We’re also sending out emails giving them suggestions what needs do they need met as well as sending out exercise videos putting them on our social media websites.

The non-profit says they are seeing success through these videos as some of their patients send them feedback.

"We want to make sure that they’re maintaining the strength and endurance that we’ve built up as well as decreasing the backsliding that could occur at this time away from our centers," Bowers said. 

FitSteps will participate in the upcoming East Texas Giving Day where they will aim for a goal of $5,000. 

"That $5,000 goal will help us serve 20 new patients in our program," Bowers said. "If you break that down for every $250 that we receive we're able to support one person in our program in a year."

Bowers says all money received goes directly into helping people in the East Texas community. 

"It's affecting the lives of the people right here in the city of Tyler," she said. "Though we understand times are uncertain right now we're continuing to serve our patients with them in mind first."