Professor Kerry Courneya labels Macmillan Move More programme as a world class solution


kerry courneya


Professor Kerry Courneya visited Ulster University last month to deliver two seminars in relation to physical activity and cancer, discussing it’s importance with some of the key stakeholders in Northern Ireland. Professor Courneya is the Canada Research Chair in the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. He is widely regarded as a world expert in the field of cancer and physical activity with research interests in the outcomes and determinants of physical activity, as well as behaviour change interventions. He is leading a global randomised control trial looking at a one year behaviour change intervention following a diabetes prevention protocol.

Professor Courneya delivered a seminar to academics and researchers entitled “Exercise & cancer outcomes: From observational studies to randomised trials”, where he presented the findings of many research projects which demonstrated an eclectic range of benefits for people living with cancer becoming and remaining active. The following day, Professor Courneya visited the Cancer Centre at Belfast City Hospital where he spoke enthusiastically about “Promoting physical activity in cancer survivors: From research to practice”. Drawing on his experience from working in Canada, Israel, Australia and many other countries throughout the world, Professor Courneya described the Macmillan Physical Activity Behaviour Change Care Pathway as ‘phenomenal’ and ‘world leading’. During his visit, Professor Courneya also took time out to meet with Macmillan’s Physical Activity Lead, Jo Foster, and Physical Activity Manager (Northern Ireland), Diarmaid McAuley. His endorsement of Macmillan’s approach will continue to inspire Macmillan to support people living with and beyond cancer to adopt and sustain an active lifestyle.

Professor Courneya’s visit to Northern Ireland was hosted by Ulster University’s Sport & Exercise Research Institute, the Institute for Nursing & Health Research, and the Belfast Health & Social Care Trust, with the support of Macmillan Cancer Support.


Move More Fife Walking

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Move More Fife was launched 2 years ago and is now expanding to include Move More Fife Walking. It is well known that walking is an extremely popular activity for people living with and beyond a cancer diagnosis due to the social, accessible and fun nature of the activity.

Jacquie Stringer, health and physical activity manager for Fife Sports and Leisure Trust said,

“Move More Fife Walking is a great way for people during or after cancer treatment to take part in physical activity while enjoying the social support of people in similar circumstances. There is lots of evidence to show that physical activity for people during and after cancer treatment can provide benefits to improved physical function, relief from fatigue, nausea and improve quality of life. Equally, for those living with cancer, physical activity helps support a return to a healthy and active lifestyle.

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“We have volunteers who will help take walks which last around 30 minutes – the volunteers come with a variety of backgrounds and most have been involved in our health programme previously. People taking part are welcome to bring along a family member or friend if they prefer. We hope the programme will offer people across Fife both emotional and physical benefits following a cancer diagnosis.”

For more information about Move More Fife and Move More walking visit:

Guest piece: Alex Hamilton

alexI’m Alex, a PhD student at the University of Oxford, studying the effect of sports programmes on the mental health of adolescents in post-conflict countries. This summer, I have been volunteering as a Physical Activity Summer Intern. I have been reviewing future options for how Macmillan can support their behaviour change pathway with telephone and digital technology. It’s been a refreshing change to my usual topic of study, and I’ve had a great opportunity to learn what it’s like to work in a large, charitable organisation.

Macmillan has an excellent team spirit and the office buzzes with industry. People are aware that their efforts directly contribute to improving the lives of people living with cancer, and this feeds into the work ethic. To be part of such an organisation, even for a short time, has been a valuable experience for me. I’ve particularly enjoyed visiting some of the current Sport England funded sites; it is great to see the local variations on the Macmillan PA behaviour change model.

Now it is time for me to head back to Oxford, escape bustling London and begin the dreaded write up of my PhD thesis. There are many long days in libraries ahead. I’ll continue to be in touch with Macmillan and follow their progress in the future. Many thanks to the PA team for being so welcoming and supportive over the last few months!

Move More Aberdeen Hits 100!

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Move More Aberdeen hit the significant milestone of 100 referrals this September, roughly 9-months after the doors opened to people affected by cancer.  There has been fantastic support locally from NHS health professionals, patient groups, CLAN Cancer Support and Maggies support centres and others. Approximately 70% of these 100 referrals came from health professionals and 30% from self-referrals.

Those who have attended Move More Aberdeen activity groups have gained real benefits such as improved fitness, a speedier return to work, greater confidence and an improved ability to cope with the side-effects of treatment, (both physical and emotional), and people affected by cancer continuing with long-term independent physical activity.

Move More Aberdeen is still in its infancy, and these referrals represent the first shoots of growth for the programme – plenty of feeding, nurturing and pruning needs to be done! (Yes, a garden group as part of the Move More Aberdeen programme will be starting soon!) With continued hard work and support from health care professionals and other partners we hope that Move More Aberdeen will become well rooted and established, growing in strength and capacity to help more people affected by cancer to ‘Get Active and Feel Good’.

Using sport as a tool to gain back control of your life

Running and cycling are proving to be a popular activity for people affected by cancer within our physical activity project sites. Whether it is going on a gentle walk on a Sunday or competing in marathon, physical activity is a fantastic tool to gain back control of people’s lives affected by cancer. Macmillan wants to ensure that everyone, no matter their age, background, geography, stage of their cancer journey is supported to become and stay active. We are in partnership with five National Governing Bodies of Sport ensuring the support they offer is appropriate and accessible for people living with and beyond a cancer diagnosis. This includes sports such as dance, golf, cycling, walking, badminton which all act as a gentle re-introduction to the sport and have lots of positive health results such as weight loss.

Nottingham Tri 2Neill Timmins from Milton Keynes has run two marathons, walked two of the Yorkshire three peaks, completed numerous 5K parkruns and done a sprint triathlon.  Little did he know he was completing these challenges with stage 4 tonsil cancer.

Once diagnosed Neill underwent major surgery followed by 6 weeks of radiotherapy supplemented by chemotherapy. He approached his cancer journey like training for a marathon, by pushing through the pain and remaining positive throughout. He has a tremendous support network including his wife and two sons and a fantastic job which has allowed him to return to work gradually following the end of his treatment.
Neil strongly believes that a healthy lifestyle has helped him recover and gain back control over his life,

“You have to get your head into the right space. Being reasonably fit and undertaking exercise I truly believe has helped me get to where I am now quicker and get back control over my life. This is important. By necessity you have to give others control during parts of treatment. If you want to get back control then you have to put some work in and frankly take some pain”.

Neill is currently in the middle of the triathlon season and plans to compete in a Brownlee Triathlon at the end of the month having already completed a sprint triathlon and two at Olympic distances. He also regularly does parkruns, yoga and cycles to work each day. On top of that he recently completed a Personal Training Diploma. He also altered his diet as his taste buds changed alongside treatment.

“I am truly grateful to all the people who have helped me get to where I am and giving me more life. Just saying thank you seems wholly inadequate”

For further information on sporting opportunities for people affected by cancer please contact

Pink Champagne

Dragon Boating is an extremely popular activity for people affected by cancer and one that is offered as part of the Living Well Active menu of opportunities in Dorset. Through a research project by Dr McKenzie in Canada (link here) it has been proven that paddling helps to mend the muscles and can help control the consequences of treatment.

Pix by Sally Adams  24/6/12      bPinkdragon1 The Pink Champagne Dragon Boat team, pictured, hold a fundraising event at Hengistbury Head Outdoor Centre.

Pink Champagne was originally set up in 2008 by Dr Mary Mills, Layne Hamerston, Living Well active project  lead and the healthcare professionals  at Bournemouth hospital through a group of ladies to help them recover following breast cancer. The name Pink Champagne was suggested by a daughter of a team member to mean a celebration of life.

A small group of ladies quickly grew in numbers and before they knew it they were saving up to race in Canada. The event attracted 72 teams from all over the world to race in Canada with everyone and everything dressed in pink. The team came a fantastic 34th! From this, the team travelled to Sarasota in the USA last October and numerous other races in England and around the world.


Their aim is to spread the world about paddling and the benefits it has both physically and psychologically during recovery. Thanks to them they have set up their own Breast Cancer Dragon Boat team in Spain. There is a fantastic person centred support network available for the participants including attendance at Living Well Actives monthly motivational evenings and social events.

More recently the Pink Champagne ladies attended the Living Well active launch to promote their taster sessions and have featured on the BBC news promoting the benefits of the sport for people affected by cancer. Representatives have also attended our knowledge exchange events to speak about their journey.

Christine Bailey, a member of Pink Champagne says “Breast cancer is a bad thing, but the friendship that we have in Pink champagne and all over the world is a wonderful thing. We come for different walks of life and would never have met, but we are here for each other. We feel we have been given a second chance and were going for it. All in one boat together”.

To find out more about  Dragon Boating take a look at the link here. If you live in Dorset and the surrounding areas take a look at the other opportunities available to you here.

Walsall Walk On

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Walsall residents who are battling cancer or are in remission are being offered the chance to go on free health walks that will improve their mood and reduce their stress thanks to a partnership between the local council, NHS and Macmillan Cancer Support.

Walsall Walk On is a weekly programme of free health walks held in parks and countryside spaces across the borough. Each of the health walks is led by a nationally qualified Walk Leader assisted by a qualified Back Marker to ensure the walks are tailored to suit everyone’s speed and ability.

Community activity co-ordinator Stuart Terry said: “Working alongside Macmillan Cancer Support has shown that being active is safe and has lots of benefits to help manage some of the side effects of cancer treatment. As well as meeting people in similar circumstances it also reduces cancer related fatigue, stress and anxiety and improves low mood or depression. For some cancer types physical activity can also lower your risk of the cancer coming back.”

The first walks will take place on Tuesday mornings, in Walsall Arboretum, meeting at the visitors centre at 9:45am for a 10am start.

For more infomation visit the Walking for Health website here

Move More Edinburgh Launches

move more edinburghMacmillan Cancer Support and Edinburgh Leisure are delighted to have teamed up to establish Move More Edinburgh. This is the latest Move More project to get started. Move More Edinburgh will offer all four of the Move More activities; gentle movement, walking and circuit classes with gardening following in year two.  Many of the classes will take place in Edinburgh Leisure venues as well as local community spaces to help bridge the gap back into mainstream physical activity. Following participation in one or more of the physical activity sessions participants will be signposted onto Edinburgh Leisure and community activities to continue with their physical activity.
Edinburgh Leisure is the largest leisure provider in Edinburgh with over 30 venues and more than 4.8 million customer visits per year.  As a not for profit organisation their goal is to make a positive difference across the city, helping everyone to get active, stay active and achieve more. The Move More project sits within Edinburgh Leisure’s health team along with 7 other projects, many funded by external partners.  From weight management to falls prevention, each of the projects aims to help those who face health inequalities the chance to experience the benefits of physical activity for themselves.  Edinburgh Leisure have a strong presence in local communities across the city and with funding and expertise from Macmillan Cancer Support the Move More Edinburgh project will reach out to people in Edinburgh affected by cancer, enabling them to get active.

Signposting your individuals to a challenging event


Goals are an effective way to maintain focus, measure progress and to provide a positive challenge for individuals living with and beyond a cancer diagnosis. Goals could also be completing events such as the 5km parkrun…

parkrun is a free, weekly, 5km timed run which takes place in pleasant parkland surroundings. There are currently 47,555 events across 348 locations in the UK with 748,921 runners taking part. This event is a fantastic goal for individuals from your projects to complete. It is safe, fun, challenging and provides a huge sense of achievement and a massive confidence boost.

Michelle is 35 years old and was diagnosed with cancer where she went through chemotherapy treatment for a year. She is part of the Macmillan Berkshire Well-Being Team who signposted her to a parkrun in Maidenhead. The Well-being team had been concentrating on regaining her confidence, muscle strength and energy levels. They set her a goal of running the Maidenhead Park Run. She had walked the route hundreds of times with her dog Eddie but had not run it for 2 years.

I was super proud when I completed my first Park Run in Maidenhead. On the Saturday morning as usual we were up early for swimming lessons and footie training but the kids said ‘Mum we want to come and run with you… Can Eddie come too?’ That’s the dog, ‘we can ask I suppose, lets print you some numbers’ I replied, so off we went.

Off to the start line, full of conversation and nerves 5km… 3.16miles… they said, wow lets see if I make it back before dark! I look around and I see other families, lots of bright colours, some people had all the gear and people like me…a mum… a dog owner… even a dad with a buggy its not cold but I’m shaking with anticipation lets do this and off we go.

It’s two laps of a water way, an area I’ve walked with Eddie a million times but wow did it feel longer. The kids are running off, Kevin is chatting away and I see people smiling and having fun. The front runners were obviously no where to be seen, but I had my little pace and I was sticking to it. Come on Michelle I said we can do this! It’s the second lap and people have over taken me and I too have over taken them but every time I got a ‘good morning’ or a ‘looking good’ big smiles from me. I had a little walk run thing going on now and I was nearly at the end 35 minutes had passed and I was on the home straight, there was one thing keeping me going and that was the offer of a free coffee from Kevin at the pub!

We had finished and in the pub Michelle…Me… a 35 year old lady who was diagnosed with Cancer and pumped with poison for a year had done 5km YES 3.16 miles all in one go a distance I hadn’t done for nearly two years, I had a feeling of success, achievement and so proud of my families support. My Saturdays were about to get better!

If you want to find out more information about these events and where they take place please click on the link here

Cancer Care Team Signs Up for Big Charity Walk

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Members of the Macmillan therapy team at Singleton Hospital, joined by family and friends, patients and health other colleagues, will form a 33-strong team in the 18th Gower Macmarathon on September 12.

“We provide exercise and physical activity support to people affected by cancer at all stages of the cancer journey. Our team relies on investment from Macmillan Cancer Support, so we wanted to give something back. We usually host coffee mornings but because our service is all about physical activity we wanted to do something a little more active this year.” said advanced practitioner occupational therapist Wendy Wilkinson.

“We are really excited about walking the Macmarathon because it reinforces the message that people with cancer can really benefit from exercise. Not all of our patients are able to walk the Macmarathon distance, but we provide a range of options from gentle circuits classes to t’ai chi and relaxation”.

We want to wish the team the best of luck for the 12th September!