Local woman brings cancer boot camp to area
Summer program under way at West Wood Fitness
Down, One. Down, Two. Down, Three.
Colleen Sonderman couldn't believe her eyes and ears - participants at a boot camp counting military style for pushups, pullups and situps in the heat of Tucson, Ariz., a few years ago. But these individuals weren't military members.
They were members of another sorority who were combating another enemy: cancer.
It was Anita Kellman's Beat Cancer Boot Camp, a fitness-based support program created to help cancer survivors stay active during cancer treatment and beyond.
"I just watched them do pushups longer than I could ever (do them), and I was like, 'Wow,' " said Sonderman, a physical therapist with a specialty in breast cancer rehabilitation at Waukesha Memorial Hospital, who was watching her sister-in-law, a breast cancer survivor, excel in the program. "When I saw that, I thought this was something we needed to have here."
So she made it happen.
Sonderman, a Brookfield resident, received a grant from Waukesha Memorial and partnered with the West Wood Health and Fitness Center in Pewaukee. And now, after months of planning, the boot camp has begun.
The classes run every Wednesday, rain or shine, through Aug. 8 at West Wood.
Fifty people, mostly from Waukesha County, are signed up for the summer session.
Many of these individuals were at the Beat Cancer Boot Camp Kickoff on June 2, when they got a glimpse at what boot camp would be like.
Sonderman relays to her patients that regular exercise can help relieve stress, anxiety and some of the side effects common to cancer treatment, such as nausea and fatigue.
"This is something you can proactively do to fight the cancer," Sonderman said. "Depression is very high, especially when going through chemotherapy, where you feel so sick that you just want to lay around.
"But research shows exercise makes you feel better and helps your immune system. I see it every day."
So does Kellman, who started the Beat Cancer Boot Camp in 2004.
Kellman has worked in the medical field for more than 30 years, but when she met a woman who recently had been diagnosed with breast cancer at an outdoor Navy Seals-style boot camp, she became inspired. She, in turn, adapted the Navy Seals' techniques to start her own support group centered on physical fitness.
"I think it becomes a natural support group," Sonderman said. "Just the idea that they can fight this battle of cancer and that they don't have to fight it alone."
Just the Facts
NAME: Colleen Sonderman
KNOWN FOR: bringing the Beat Cancer Boot Camp to Waukesha County
LEARN MORE: visit WestWoodFitness.org and click on the "Online Class Registration" link
Your link to the biggest stories in the suburbs delivered Thursday mornings.
Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter Get the Newsletter!
- Gloria Henderson receives Governor's Trailblazer Award
- Special education teacher strives to help students
- Elm Grove's new recreation director brings varied experiences
- Trimble takes over as meal program coordinator at Brookfield Senior Center
- Wehrley quickly rising through the ranks in the entertainment business
- Revers' diverse music résumé on full display at St. John Vianney
- Smyczek's tennis career heading in right direction
- Maguire honored for faith-based service
- MacLeod leads quilting club at Brookfield Senior Center
- Gordon thrilled to be new St. John Vianney principal
- Martin excited to be leading Brookfield East's athletic program
- Brookfield Central grad to tell musical story from Broadway career
- Balsiger makes name for himself with restoration work over years
- Brookfield mom sets record, raises money for LifeStriders
- Wightman finds magic in his novel, 'Pepperland'
- Brookfield mother, daughter create worldwide fundraiser to help Boston Marathon victims
- Believe coach spreads positive energy around area
- Haney honored for giving children gift of music
- Marter finds joy in Elmbrook ministry partner program
- Elm Grove woman earns award for helping others succeed