PALS for Life is a two pronged organization:
1. A personal training business for individuals and groups surviving breast cancer
2. An exercise education business designed to educate qualified professionals (personal trainers, physical therapists and other qualified exercise professionals).
My name is Cathy Bryan, I was lucky enough to be a part of an amazing research effort at the University of Pennsylvania. I was the lead personal trainer on The PAL Trial (Physical Activity and Lymphedema ). I decided to move back to my home town and take the plunge of starting a small business. I have the knowledge and experience, in addition to the passion to make this work.
The PAL Trial provided 295 women with an exercise program that helped many of them regain the (independence and take control over a sometimes debilitating condition called lymphedema. Lymphedema is perhaps the main reason that breast cancer survivors are told to never lift more than 5 lbs again, after breast cancer surgery. I was touched very deeply by the relationships that I created with many of these women. These relationships and what I learned from these women are the basis of my current business adventure. I have developed a business named PALS for Life. My vision for PALS for Life is to bring safe, effective and research based exercise to as many breast cancer survivors, with and at risk for lymphedema, as possible! The general population can go just about anywhere and get exercise advice that may work for them. Breast cancer survivors do not have this luxury. Do a simple Google search for breast cancer survivors and exercise and you will find a lot about how good exercise is for breast cancer survivors, but very little direction and nothing that has any substantive backing. This is what I have! I have a proven exercise program that works.
We all know that many (most) survivors are told to never exercise their affected side again and to take it easy on that side so as not to put too much stress on the structure and/or lymphatic system. Our study strongly disproved this theory. We view it much the same way that cardiac rehab is now viewed. In the beginning, heart patients were told to rest their hearts after surgery… now we all know that exercise is often the best thing for them. This is most often the case with breast cancer survivors as well. We have determined that strength training, if performed correctly and with the proper guidelines, is very safe and extremely beneficial for breast cancer survivors.