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Cancer Wellness team helps patients 'live their best lives'

Ascension Via Christi Cancer Institute, the area’s only dedicated inpatient cancer treatment center, has many programs available for patients battling cancer. Cancer Wellness is one of the programs designed for patients to build strength to fight the physical and emotional stress of cancer. Here, Ascension Via Christi fitness instructors help patients fight fatigue, improve chemotherapy tolerance, strengthen their immune systems and improve their overall health. 

The program, part of the Cancer Outreach and Risk Assessment (CORA) program located at 817 N. Emporia, is staffed by fitness instructors Jose Garcia and Trish Gaston, who are dedicated to helping patients get back to feeling and living their best lives. 

Garcia and Gaston see patients both at the Ascension Via Christi Cancer Center as well as at the seventh-floor Cancer Institute at Ascension Via Christi St. Francis.

“Exercise before, during and after cancer treatment has significant potential benefits, including reduction in side effects, reduction in fatigue and maintaining pre-diagnosis activity levels,” says Maggie Ward, who manages the CORA Program. 

Hutchinson, Kansas, native Jose Garcia has an associate degree offered as part of the Physical Therapy Assistant program at Hutchinson Community College. Jose serves as a sergeant in the Kansas Army National Guard. Some of his favorite activities are weight-lifting, reading and enjoying the outdoors. 

“My favorite things about serving in the Cancer Wellness program is working with a great team of people and helping make a difference in the lives of patients battling cancer,” says Garcia. 

Trish Gaston is from Derby, Kansas. Gaston is a certified as a personal trainer through the American Council on Exercise and has nearly 30 years’ experience in fitness training. Her family and relationship with God are two of the most important things in her life. 

“I have had cancer touch me personally, so being at Via Christi and working with patients is a perfect fit for me and my career,” says Gaston, who enjoys hiking in Colorado in her free time.

To get more information, visit viachristi.org/cancer or call 316-268-6100. To see if you are at risk for cancer or need additional support, call CORA at 316-268-5890.

About Taylor Valdez

An eager intern with a passion to learn, write and serve. I am currently pursuing a degree in Integrated Marketing and Communications at Wichita State, and expect to graduate Dec. 2019. The loves of my life are Chinese food, shopping trips and my kitty cat.