Kirsty Rowlinson-Groves, who delivers the Prehab4Cancer programme through Salford Community Leisure, was named the winner of the Greater Manchester Mayor Award earlier this month.
Kirsty was presented with the accolade at the 2019 Greater Manchester Sports Awards by Mayor Andy Burnham, for her work as Programme Manager of Prehab4Cancer, a project that helps newly diagnosed cancer patients to stay active both before and after surgery.
The programme was set up in April earlier this year, with Kirsty recognised for her dedication to keeping lung, colorectal and upper gastrointestinal cancer patients fit and healthy following their diagnoses.
“It was amazing. For somebody to take the time just to sit down and write a nomination was beyond brilliant but to be recognised and to give the voice to a cancer project was massive”, she said.
“People don’t want to talk about cancer, people are scared of even saying the word so to give some exposure and to put a positive spin on such a disease and move against it, it was brilliant for cancer as a whole.”
? GREATER MANCHESTER MAYOR AWARD ?
Presented by @AndyBurnhamGM, the winner is Kirsty Rowlinson-Groves! ?
Kirsty is an expert fitness instructor & Programme Manager for @prehab4cancer, pre-habilitation for those diagnosed with cancer ?
— BBC RM Sport (@BBCRMsport) November 15, 2019
Kirsty, alongside her colleagues at P4C, has delivered the first seven months of the programme through the Salford Community Leisure Active Lifestyles Team, to patients from across Greater Manchester. She was taken back upon just hearing about her nomination for the prize.
“When I got told I was up for the award, I thought it was the programme that was up for it. I was ecstatic for my instructors because they work so hard.
“Then the lady who told me said ‘no, Kirsty, it’s just you’ – it was touching. It’s really special to think some people just thought this person is doing a lot for Cancer and Greater Manchester people, and she deserves to be recognised. It’s just lovely, you don’t really expect it.”
Off the back of a year-long development launch, Prehab4Cancer has already worked with around 600 patients in just seven months. Exercise and emotional wellbeing are huge to the organisation’s philosophy.
“It’s hugely important. We’ve recently done some focus groups with some of the patients we’ve had go through the programme so far; wellbeing and mental-psychosocial wellbeing were one of the big things to come out of it.
“It’s (having cancer) a horrific storm of loss of control, there’s a lot of things being done to the patient. So, the loss of confidence in their body is huge.
“It’s a feeling of control that they’re actually doing something as part of their treatment, it’s not being done to them. They’re enjoying it, they’re pushing it, their confidence in their bodies comes back.”
In the future, Kirsty hopes that the programme can expand on the great work already done into other types of Cancer, and other health conditions in general.
“In the short term, we’re across the 10 boroughs in Greater Manchester and we’re aiming for it to become standard of care for all cancer patients facing an intervention and keeping them fit and healthy.
“The programme we’ve set up is a really good programme and the principles of it could be applied to other health conditions. The long-term future would be to get referral pathways for people facing any major medical intervention and recovery from any intervention.”