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Free class helps cancer patients, families

Cancer changes everything in big ways, such as chemotherapy or surgery. But what about the small, daily changes like diet and exercise?

One new program is offering support just for that. It’s one of a handful in the U.S., and it’s in eastern Idaho.

“This has been a dream project of mine,” said Trevor Bennion.

It was a dream Bennion didn’t even realize until a few years ago. It came after his mom told him the news no son wants to hear: cancer.

“That was right after I became a health and fitness specialist,” he said.

Bennion looked into what he knew: How could fitness help his mom?

“(I) realized there’s barely anything out there specific to cancer,” so he took it into his own hands.

“The info to help her out in that capacity was so on the tip of my tongue,” he said.

Fast forward a few years, and his cancer-fitness program is just beginning, gathering a small group at Gold’s Gym in Blackfoot.

It is one of about 15 programs like it across the country. Plus, Bennion is one of two cancer exercise specialists in the Gem State.

“Yay! It’s in Blackfoot where we can participate,” said Luane Cox, a colon cancer survivor. “During the cold months of winter I’d really like to have a place to exercise other than just keep walking at Walmart. It gets tired after a while, and I spend way too money.”

She doesn’t have to worry about her pocketbook getting hit by the program. Bennion worked to make sure it’s completely free and that it offers much more than fitness.

“This is a good opportunity,” said Cox. “Especially where they’re offering counseling and helping us with our personal goals.”

There will also be a dietitian, exercise aimed at helping with the side-effects of cancer and a support system.

“We’re all in here together, and we’re here for each other,” said Cox. “It’ll be fun.”

“Fitness was going to be secondary,” said Bennion. “The prime objective is to find support, make friends.”

And it goes beyond the person with cancer.

“Sometimes the family members are under more stress than the ones with cancer,” said Bennion.

Another big part of the program is research — learning from every class to help others.

The class meets at Gold’s Gym in Blackfoot every Wednesday at 3 p.m. and Friday at 7 p.m.

For more information on how to get involved, email or call (208) 785-7338.

“This is one of those things that’s been a daydream,” said Bennion. “To know it’s real is amazing.”

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