On Sunday, November 2, 2014, we (Cameron and Catherine Mattice) joined over 130 people at the Canadian National Ballet School to participate in take to the mat, the Great Yoga and Wellness event in support of Lymphoma Canada. Thank you to our family and friends who generously donated over $4,000! In total, the event raised close to $150,000. All of the funds raised will enable Lymphoma Canada to further its mission of supporting over 80,000 Canadians living with lymphoma: Hodgkin, non-Hodgkin and CLL.
The entire day was a celebration of wellness. The morning sessions focused on strategies for healthy living. Among the speakers, Dr. ‘Joey’ Shulman, a highly regarded authority on weight loss, health and nutrition, took the stage to address strategies for healthy eating. Dr. John Kuruvilla, Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto, a clinical investigator and hematologist in the Department of Medical Oncology at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, discussed the latest advances in treating lymphoma patients using pharmaceuticals.
The highlight of the day was practicing 108 minutes of energetic and healing yoga with all of the participants – cancer patients and survivors, families and friends.
One of the guest speakers, Ryan Leal, shared his story as a Hodgkin’s Lymphoma survivor. At the age of 24, just after graduating university, Ryan was diagnosed with Stage III Hodgkin’s. For Ryan, the illness presented itself with a very uncomfortable and at times debilitating rash. For almost two years doctors unsuccessfully treated the rash with various prescribed medications until two lumps appeared which helped pinpoint the correct diagnosis. Today, 12 years later, Ryan is married and the father of two young boys.
As many of you know, Cameron went back and forth to doctors before anyone could come up with a proper diagnosis. He also experienced a rash, as well as a persistent dry cough that caused him shortness of breath, both at rest and during exercise. Doctors prescribed cream for the rash and one doctor misdiagnosed his illness as asthma, prescribing an inhaler. When Cameron was finally diagnosed with Hodgkin’s it was Stage IVb, with a tumour pushing on his trachea, nearly closing the airway to his lungs. He responded immediately to treatment and is now thriving at 22.
In addition to our shared philosophy of promoting wellness through TQS Transformation, part of our goal in participating in the take it to the mat event is to create awareness for Lymphoma to assist in earlier detection. Ryan and Cameron’s symptoms were just a few of the symptoms for Hodgkin’s, and there are over 60 types of lymphoma. Hodgkin’s is the third most common cancer diagnosed in adolescents and young adults aged 15–29 in Ontario, with a higher incidence in males. If you, or anyone you love, are not feeling well and have annoying symptoms that don’t respond to any treatments, be persistent with your doctor. As we have learned over the years, wellness is the best defense. So we encourage you to treat your body with kindness – eat healthy foods, restore with sleep, exercise and get outdoors to move your body, and minimize stress by fostering a nurturing and loving environment for your family and yourself.
Our bodies love all kinds of exercise – walking, cycling, running, tennis, swimming – so whatever your pleasure, your body will thank you. But we especially love yoga. Our family and our co-workers through TQS Transformation have experienced yoga’s healing benefits first hand. Various studies have shown that practicing helps the heart rate decrease which benefits people with high blood pressure. When practiced with proper alignment, yoga poses can also bring relief to people with physical ailments, especially back pain sufferers. For people with lymphoma, yoga exercises can improve the circulation of the lymphatic channels through the contraction and massage of skeletal muscles through a variety of poses. In addition, a recent study conducted by Ohio State University found that breast cancer survivors who practiced 90-minute yoga classes twice-weekly for 12 weeks experienced reduced inflammation. Inflammation is associated with chronic diseases including heart disease, diabetes and arthritis and can also cause fatigue in cancer patients for months after treatment.
If you have any questions about Lymphoma Canada, please access their website at www.lymphoma.ca and for more information on the recent yoga study with breast cancer patients, check out the study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology: http://jco.ascopubs.org/content/early/2014/01/21/JCO.2013.51.8860.abstract
Or an overview in the National Geographic:
Once again thank you to all of our supporters for making this day possible for us. It was a day we’ll always remember!
Cameron and Catherine