Troupe Consists of Current and Former Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital Cancer Patients and Family Members
November 8 Performance Planned at Lance Armstrong's LIVESTRONG Young Adult Alliance in Austin, Texas
Oct 23, 2007
A year ago, a group of cancer patients at Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian told their exercise physiologist, Christine Grimaldi, that they wanted to dance in a hip-hop style. Soon after, Cancer Dancers was born.
Made up of 10 teenagers and young adults, both current and former patients and their siblings, the troupe—part of the Integrative Therapies Program for Children with Cancer, which is partially funded by the Hope and Heroes Children's Cancer Fund—has performed its dance moves on television (including "The View"), for fund-raisers and the Hospital's yearly reunion of pediatric cancer patients.
On Thursday, November 8, the Cancer Dancers will perform at Lance Armstrong's LIVESTRONG Young Adult Alliance in Austin, Texas. In addition, the dancers will discuss survivorship, the creation of community and finding one's purpose and personal joy after cancer. Three of the dancers will also narrate podcasts on issues of survivorship for the Lance Armstrong Foundation.
"Young adult cancer patients often feel isolated from their family and friends. They want to be regular young people. Cancer Dancers gives them that, serving as both a support group and an outlet for their energy, creativity and passion," says Dr. Christine Grimaldi, the program's founder, exercise physiologist and yoga therapist in the Integrative Therapies Program for Children with Cancer at Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian and Columbia University Medical Center. "When they perform they are telling the world that cancer patients don't have to live in fear and solitude. It's a message of courage, hope and inspiration."
The Cancer Dancers include current patients, those who recently finished treatment and others in remission. Its members mostly come from economically disadvantaged areas, including Washington Heights, Inwood and Harlem.
Led by a professional choreographer, Todd Shanks, the dancers practice twice a week at a gym located in the Hospital.
"Fitness is a crucial weapon against the debilitating side effects of cancer treatment, such as muscle atrophy, weight gain and depression," says Dr. Grimaldi, who also offers patients fitness assessment, pulmonary function testing, exercise programs, yoga, meditation, acupressure and massage. "By getting patients out of bed and into the gym, exercising and expressing themselves, we're helping them win the fight against cancer."
In the coming year, Dr. Grimaldi plans to include younger members in the Cancer Dancers.
The mission of the Integrative Therapies Program for Children with Cancer at Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian is to provide integrative therapies that help to lessen the side effects of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery; evaluate the safety and potential interactions of complementary therapies with conventional treatments for childhood cancer; and disseminate reputable information on complementary therapies to the parents of children with cancer and the health care professionals involved in their care. Integrative therapies include exercise, massage, acupuncture, nutritional counseling, aromatherapy, acupressure, reflexology and Reiki therapy.
For more information, patients may call 866-NYP-NEWS.
Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian
Ranked by U.S.News & World Report as one of the top ten children's hospitals in the country, Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian offers the best available care in every area of pediatrics—including the most complex neonatal and critical care, and all areas of pediatric subspecialties—in a family-friendly and technologically advanced setting. Building a reputation for more than a century as one of the nation's premier children's hospitals, Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian is affiliated with Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and is New York City's only hospital dedicated solely to the care of children and the largest provider of children's health services in the tri-state area with a long-standing commitment to its community. Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian is also a major international referral center, meeting the special needs of children from infancy through adolescence worldwide.