"You have cancer" is a sentence no one wants to hear. But statistics show that one in two people will hear those three words in their lifetime. In June of 2000, Sacramento architect Pam Whitehead became a statistic. She was two weeks shy of her 36th birthday and had just been diagnosed with uterine cancer. The summer of 2000, changed her life forever, setting her on a path to becoming a cancer advocate in her community. After seeing five other members of her own family receive a cancer diagnosis within a five year span of her own, Pam's eyes were opened to the challenges that cancer survivors face post treatment. Cancer treatment, whether it be radiation, chemotherapy, or surgery has a tremendous impact on a person's physical well-being. Regaining strength and stamina lost during treatment not only decreases a survivor's chance of recurrence, but improves quality of life after cancer. But after treatment, Pam was given no guidance on how to recover by her healthcare team.
The seeds for Triumph Fitness were planted with these thoughts in mind. Based upon her own experiences, Pam decided to create a fitness program designed specifically for adult cancer survivors. After assembling a team comprised of a fitness partner and an administrative partner and an initial fiscal sponsor (UCD Cancer Center), Triumph Fitness launched in Sacramento in October of 2005. Pam took on the responsibility for raising all of the required funds and for outreach in the Sacramento community. In 2011, in order to expand and meet the growing demand for Triumph Fitness, the Triumph Cancer Foundation was created.
The Triumph Cancer Foundation is run by Pam Whitehead along with a Board of Directors who passionately believes in the mission of the Foundation. The fact that Triumph Fitness regularly receives referrals from UCD Cancer Center, Kaiser Permanente, Sutter Cancer Center, and Dignity Cancer Center via their oncologists and cancer navigator specialists, is a testament to the value of the fitness program offered through the Triumph Cancer Foundation. While the Triumph Cancer Foundation will celebrate 10 years as a nonprofit organization in 2020, the Triumph Fitness program will mark its 16th anniversary in October of 2021.
The Triumph Instructor team are all cancer exercise specialists. This specialty training gives them the expertise to work with cancer survivors who come into the Triumph program with many challenges due to cancer treatment in surgeries. Issues can range from loss of muscle mass, balance problems, neuropathy, lymphedema, and tissue damage that inhibits flexibility and range of motion. On top of the physical challenges, many participants have loss of confidence, body self-image problems, and even depression. And lastly, they fear injuring themselves as their new "cancer bodies" do not function the same way as their old bodies before their cancer diagnosis. Triumph Fitness not only rebuilds their strength, educates them on the proper way to exercise, but also rebuilds confidence in a nurturing safe environment through the guidance of the Triumph team. Our goal is to set survivors on a path to a healthy life style moving forward.