Nancy Marx Cancer Wellness Center Is All About Cancer Support

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and the efforts to find a cure are a part of nearly every hospital and foundation, including the Sid Jacobson JCC in East Hills. Randy Hight is the director of the Nancy Marx Cancer Wellness Center at the SJJCC as well as a licensed clinical social worker and board certified oncology social worker. Hight collaborates with doctors, social workers and nurses at local hospitals to provide programs that help improve the emotional and physical health of those affected by cancer.

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Sid Jacobson JCC’s annual Stronger Than Cancer 5K will take place Sunday, Oct. 13, at 9:30 a.m. at the JCC. The annual event benefits the Nancy Marx Cancer Wellness Center, which, thanks to funding from the event, allows most of these vital programs to be free to participants. Last year’s Stronger Than Cancer 5K was attended by more than 600 participants and raised $110,000.

For more information about the Stronger Than Cancer 5K, to register, or to make a donation, visit www.sjjcc.org/5k.

Tell me about yourself.

My family has been touched by cancer many times, but it was not until 13 years ago when I began working in a small program at Sid Jacobson JCC as a social worker that I truly began to understand the full impact of a cancer diagnosis on those who were diagnosed and their families. Since that time with the support of SJJCC, I was able to build programs and eventually a cancer wellness center that would sustain and provide hope to all who walked through our doors. My hope is that each person that enters feels a sense of community while working towards being the best that they can be today.

What is the Nancy Marx Cancer Wellness Center?

The Nancy Marx Cancer Wellness Center offers support to cancer survivors and their families through an array of innovative evidence-based programs and services. NMCWC is geared to enhance the lives of all cancer survivors at any stage of their diagnosis. Our cancer specialists seek to improve the well-being of those affected by cancer whether it’s physically through exercise classes taught by cancer exercise specialists or emotionally in discussion groups, or short-term individual counseling with a certified oncology social worker. We also offer programs with key-note speakers to educate participants, an annual retreat to help participants relax and recenter themselves, and family services to support all who attend.

How does the Wellness Center provide support to cancer survivors?

We offer diagnosis based discussion groups, which include breast/gynecologic, general cancer group, metastatic, recurrent and advanced group, and our men’s only group. Our family-based support group offers services to children with either a parent or sibling with a cancer diagnosis, and information and referral services support clients navigating the cancer world.

Randy Hight

What are some of the programs offered by the Wellness Center?

Exercise classes offered include full-body workouts, swim classes in our indoor heated pool, yoga and meditation, dance, and restorative exercise for those who are in active treatment. Our Power of Words program encourages participants to write what they cannot say, recording their thoughts, philosophies on life and more.

What kind of guidance does the center provide when it comes to checking yourself for breast cancer?

According to the National Cancer Institute, many studies show that physically active women have a lower risk of breast cancer than inactive women. Sid Jacobson JCC’s mission is for our community to be healthy and well. Within our state of the art Health + Wellness Center, we assist members in being healthy and strong while reducing the risk of metabolic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and more. NMCWC encourages all members of Sid Jacobson JCC and our community to be screened for breast cancer as well as for other diseases.

Any upcoming events or new projects you can share?

Eat, Chat, Move!, in partnership with The Cancer Institute at St. Francis Hospital, will begin again on Monday, Jan. 6, at Sid Jacobson JCC. This program, which is free to the community, is specifically designed for women with breast and/or gynecological cancer. Eat, Chat, Move! teaches attendees how to lead a healthy lifestyle, offers the opportunity to exercise with a certified cancer exercise specialist, and provides a discussion about positive nutrition habits with registered oncology dietitians.

Learn more about the 12-session program at www.sjjcc.org/cancerwellness.

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