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Date posted 03 Feb 2021

GREATER Manchester residents, NHS, care and cancer support organisations, charities and businesses are invited to join free online fitness sessions for people of all abilities on World Cancer Day, Thursday, February 4. 

The sessions are being led by exercise specialists who deliver fitness, nutrition and wellbeing programmes to help cancer patients prepare for and recover from major surgery. 

The instructors work for a transformational programme called Prehab4Cancer. They usually deliver help in local community leisure centres for people with cancer who are referred for support by the medical teams at the region’s hospitals. In response to lockdown restrictions, the Prehab4Cancer exercise specialists are offering their support online. 

GM Active is the delivery organisation for the support programme. It is a collective of 12 Greater Manchester leisure and community organisations which aims to get more people physically active and to improve the health and wellbeing of local communities. 

World Cancer Day is held every February and led by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC). It aims to raise awareness, improve education and bring about personal, collective and government action to save lives and improve access to life-saving cancer treatment. 

In Greater Manchester, Prehab4Cancer fitness sessions will be streamed live on Zoom from 8am to 9pm. Links to join are posted on the Prehab4Cancer and GM Active social media channels. 

Kirsty Rowlinson-Groves, GM Active’s Programme Manager for Prehab4Cancer, said: “Our team of exercise specialists are inviting everyone to take part in any session they choose. These are really accessible for all ages and abilities. We are raising awareness of how activity at any level boosts physical and mental health, including for some people with cancer who are preparing for or recovering from surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy.


“We have designed a really varied programme of sessions with something for everyone. These are Rise & Shine, Stretch & Flex, Strength & Balance, High Intensity interval training (HIIT), Core Stability, Seated Chair Circuit, Tai Chi, Get Strong, Balance, Core & Mobility, Aerobic Box Workout of the Day, Circuit 4 All and Stretch & Flex. Head to our social media channels or websites for more information and links to join.” 

Two current Prehab4Cancer patients are taking part in Thursday’s activities. Sharon Butler, from Trafford, is recovering from colorectal cancer. She joined the referral programme before the Covid lockdown, attending sessions in a local gym and then online. The other is Miriam Gilland, from Tameside, who is awaiting surgery for colorectal cancer. 

Prehab4Cancer exercise specialists include Kirsty, who usually works with patients in leisure centres in Manchester; Jack Murphy who covers Trafford and Salford; Sarah Jayne Hurst, who covers Oldham and Rochdale; Rob Mentha in Wigan and Stockport, Karly Baguley in Bolton and Bury, and Ash Rowlands, who works in Tameside and north Manchester. 

Other fitness instructors supporting the event are Leanne Thetford, Eilish Senior and Stuart Barker. 

Gemma Hillier-Moses, the founder of the MOVE Charity and 5K Your Way initiative, also hopes to take part. 

Around 16,000 people in Greater Manchester are diagnosed with cancer every year. People here have a greater chance of getting cancer than the national average and are typically less prepared and resilient, physically, and mentally, for cancer treatment than patients in other regions. 

Prehab4Cancer is a co-designed transformation programme between GM Active and GM Cancer. It aims to help patients and their loved-ones cope with cancer treatment and feel better, physically and mentally. It helps people take an active role in their cancer care and live as well as possible with and beyond cancer. It is the UK’s first regional system of large-scale, physical activity-supported prehab and recovery activity as a standard of care for cancer patients. 

Organisations involved say it shows what can be achieved by structured, imaginative co-design and collaborative working between clinical healthcare and physical activity providers across Greater Manchester.  Other organisations involved include local healthcare providers, GM Active User Involvement, Health Innovation Manchester and the Manchester Allied Health Sciences. 

GM Active member-organisations manage the bulk of the publicly owned leisure and physical activity assets and services on behalf of the 10 local authorities in Greater Manchester for the good of the whole population. 

Members are Active Tameside, Bolton Arena, Bolton Community Leisure, Bury Leisure, Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles in Wigan, Life Leisure in Stockport, Link4Life in Rochdale, Manchester Active, Oldham Community Leisure, Salford Community Leisure, Trafford Leisure and Wythenshawe Forum Trust. 

More information and patient testimonials can be seen on the website 

For further details about GM Active, visit 


  • Some of the GM Active Prehab4Cancer exercise specialists. From left, Jack Murphy, Kirsty Rowlinson-Groves, Nathan Valentine (admin), Sarah-Jayne Hurst and Rob Mentha. (Pictured before the pandemic.)
  • GM Active fitness specialist Jack Murphy with participants Edward Parr and Catherine Dalton. Picture taken before the Covid pandemic.
  • Kirsty Rowlinson-Groves, the GM Active Programme Manager for Prehab4Cancer, with participant David Fowles. Picture taken before the Covid pandemic.





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