YWCA Encore helps the healing process
BCAC member group, YWCA Encore, is a pool-based exercise programme for women with breast cancer and Carol Tucker can testify to its importance in the healing process.
Carol is the consummate entertainer; she worked for years as a comic, wardrobe mistress and dresser with a troupe that performed in clubs and rest homes from Kaitaia to Bluff.
In 2009 Carol was diagnosed with breast cancer at her regular screening and had a mastectomy a month later. She was grateful for the early diagnosis due to her regular breast cancer screenings which she kept up in honour of her sister in the UK who died of breast cancer.
Carol came out of the surgery with no clue who she was, her old life gone. She couldn’t continue with her work – too much lifting and bending and with no more touring her world collapsed.
“My friend said your sense of humour will see you through – but it was buried in the back garden with a stone on it!” says Carol. “I went from being star of the stage to a great lollop on the couch and I was brought back to life by the companionship and exercises of the Encore programme.”
It was while on the couch reading the local South Auckland Courier that Carol came across an article on the YWCA Encore post breast cancer
exercise programme. “I’ll jump in the water anywhere, anytime and when I saw the photo of the Encore ladies in the water I thought – that’s
for me! I did the first Encore course 8 weeks and 1 day after the surgery!”
The Encore programme features pool and land exercises as well as guest speakers, support and relaxation techniques.
“It was great to feel normal and know that I wasn’t the only one going through feelings of depression and sadness.” Carol really felt the difference that the exercises were making… “I did the exercises every day religiously. I couldn’t do the seesaw movement over my head to start with, but by continually practicing by the last class I could do it easily!”
Carol has done the programme twice now; she feels like part of the Encore family. “The people who run the classes are wonderful, Longford Park is a lovely venue. I still see two people from the class, we go to Zumba together and I’ve just started to think about going back on tour!”
YWCA Encore is run in 24 locations around New Zealand helping women like Carol to feel empowered. For more details please refer to their website www.akywca.org.nz or call 0800ENCORE.