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Healing Garden initiates 'LiveWell for Cancer Survivorship' program

Press release submitted by the Virginia Thurston Healing Garden

Maddie Phadke, Kelly Marchand, and Meg Koch  of the Healing Garden help distribute goods. (Courtesy photos)

Christine Salovadros, LIVESTRONG Coordinator.

Amy Noordzij, a chef trained at the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culanry Arts.

Through generous funding from the Community Health Network Area 15 (CHNA15) administered by Emerson Hospital, the Healing Garden in Harvard is excited to be facilitating our virtual LiveWell for Cancer Survivorship Program.  CHNA 15 is a partnership between the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, hospitals, service agencies, schools, businesses, boards of health, non-profit organizations, and citizens working together to improve the health of member communities.

The Healing Garden’s  LiveWell program is designed to improve the well-being of cancer patients through a group-based healthy eating program that provides participants better access to fresh fruits and vegetables through a farm distribution program, nutrition education classes focused on nourishing, health-supportive meals and a virtual Livestrong™ group exercise program. The goal of this program is to improve the patient’s well-being through group-based healthy eating, regaining strength through exercise, weight management and fitness, and enhanced quality of life. We hope to help clients overcome issues including food insecurity, improve diet and exercise, overcome isolation, and ultimately produce lasting, healthy lifestyle behaviors that contribute to better cancer survival outcomes.

Christine  Salovardos, LIVESTRONG Coordinator of the YMCA of Central Massachusetts in Westborough, MA, walks the clients through a variety of exercises to build muscle strength, increase flexibility, moderate energy levels, improve endurance, and elevate mood.  As part of the grant, participants receive an exercise kit that includes weights, resistance bands, and a yoga mat.

Twice a month clients receive a farm share from the the Community Harvest Project in Harvard and Grafton, MA which can include a variety of fresh produce like zucchini, summer squash, cherry tomatoes, green beans, eggplant, and blueberries, and of course apples in the fall. Clients then participate in virtual nutrition and cooking classes.  Chef Amy Noordzij provides a variety of recipes that highlight the fresh produce provided as well as the health benefits needed while in treatment, or post-treatment like anti-inflammatory qualities, flavoring to accommodate changing taste buds, and easily digestible foods. We are thrilled to partner with these other non-profits in promoting healthy living and cancer survivorship.

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