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Sam and Caroline play drums on inflatable yoga balls as part of exercise class at hospice
Case Study:

Sam’s cancer doesn’t stop her – thanks to The Myton Hospices

Sam Roche’s is an incredible individual whose moving story is not about herculean feats or marathon wins, but truly shows the huge impact of having the right mindset and support can have on living a better life day-to-day.  

Sam was diagnosed with stage four incurable cancer in 2014 and she has faced life’s challenges head-on with a positive attitude and an infectious laugh that uplifts everyone around her.  

With the support of The Myton Hospices’ physical activity programme and the guidance of Caroline Moore, a dedicated physiotherapist, Sam’s experience shows courage, hope, and perseverance in abundance.  

In this heartwarming moving story, we delve into Sam’s background, her journey with cancer, and the life-changing impact of Myton’s activity programme on her physical and mental well-being. We also explore the profound effect of physical activity on patients with terminal and life-limiting conditions, showcasing the remarkable benefits it offers beyond mere movement. 

The Myton Hospices has been a lifeline for Sam, offering not just medical care but a holistic approach to her well-being. The hospice provides a nurturing environment where patients can connect with others facing similar challenges, easing feelings of isolation. 

“When I was referred by my doctor, a few years ago, to attend sessions at Myton, I was worried initially, as I had the misconception that you only went to the hospice when you were dying. But they do so much more than ‘end of life’ care and have just been a fantastic support for me and continue to be!” expresses Sam.  

Caroline Moore, is a specialist physiotherapist in palliative care, and leads the physical activity programme at Myton. With over 20 years of experience, Caroline’s expertise and compassionate approach have made a significant difference in Sam’s journey. 

“I have been a physio for a long time, but more recently shifted my focus to working in hospices and palliative care of this nature, due to my own family experiences, with both my parents having had cancer and my mum in a hospice herself.” she explains. 

“This is such rewarding work that I am so passionate about doing, with incredible people like Sam.” enthused Caroline.  

Before her diagnosis, Sam led an active and fulfilling life. She worked as Head Housekeeper at a hotel and loved dancing and socialising. Her world changed dramatically when she was first diagnosed with stage three cancer in 2013. Sixteen months later, the cancer returned as stage four and was deemed incurable.  

“I used to be the life and soul of the party, always up and about dancing and enjoying life. People see me now and they say I don’t look poorly, but I tell them to try and live half an hour in my body to really understand how difficult it can be and how tired and in pain I often am.” explains Sam.  

Despite the severity of her condition, Sam’s spirit has remained unbroken. She faced her treatment with determination and a positive outlook. Sam’s resilience has been a source of strength, not just for herself but for others battling similar conditions. 

Physical activity plays a crucial role in improving the quality of life for cancer patients. The Myton Hospices’ exercise programme, coordinated by Caroline, is designed to cater to individuals with varying levels of ability. The classes incorporate seated and standing exercises, different levels of weights, and engaging activities like drumming on inflatable yoga balls. 

Sam shares her experience of joining the programme, expressing how it positively influenced her mental health and social connections.  

“You get up and move, and it’s not just existing—it’s living,” she says. “The classes gave me a sense of community and camaraderie, giving me new friendships with people who have shared experiences and empowering us to support one another.” explains Sam.  

“It is difficult when you’re in the position I am, to stay motivated and active. During the pandemic I managed to lose 5 stone in weight, and this really gave me a new perspective. Then these weekly sessions at Myton were introduced and I’ve never looked back.” said Sam.  

Despite her diagnosis, Sam continues to try and live life to the fullest. She credits her mindset to her support network of friends, who help her navigate this difficult journey.  

“I wake up every day and think, ‘I’m alive,’ and that’s how I continue,” she shares. Sam’s story is a powerful reminder of the importance of resilience, courage, and the will to keep moving forward. 

Caroline emphasises the importance of movement for patients with cancer, citing research that shows physical exercise reduces cancer mortality by 20%.  

“Physical activity is the new wonder drug for these patients,” she explains. “There are studies that show just how impactful physical activity can be on people with cancer, and just 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise is the guidance to make the most benefit from keeping active. So, we’re not talking about sweating buckets and running marathons.” continues Caroline.  

By leading the exercise programme at Myton, Caroline gets to see the progress and positive changes in patients like Sam. The classes offer more than just physical benefits too, they provide a sense of achievement and inspiration, encouraging participants to push through their limitations. 

Caroline and The Myton Hospices’ team are committed to evolving this active programme to ensure it remains relevant and impactful. By incorporating a variety of activities and measuring outcomes, they are meeting the unique needs of each patient. 

“We have already supported lots of patients through this programme and we have a new cohort starting regularly. I have a variation of workouts and exercises to suit everyone and there is always easy, medium, and hard options and variations that anyone can have a go at,” explains Caroline. 

Sam Roche’s story is a brilliant example of the transformative power of physical activity, and she demonstrates an unwavering spirit, considering her terminal condition. With the support of Myton and the dedication of people like Caroline, Sam’s journey and enthusiasm is a source of energy and hope for those around her and others battling terminal conditions. 

The physical activity programme at Myton has given Sam a new lease on life, helping her stay active, connected, and inspired. 

If you’d like to find out more about The Myton Hospices, the work they do and how they could support you or someone you know, please visit: www.mytonhospice.org

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