Cancer. We fight back with research, early detection and treatment. However, dealing with the physical, financial and emotional well-being is also an integral part of coping with the stresses linked to those with cancer, and for those who take care of them, love them and are sometimes left behind.
A Quality Life Community provides FREE yoga classes to Salt Lake City cancer patients, caregivers, and loved ones.
“She was determined that she was going to beat it,” explains Bill Held, recalling his wife Bonnie’s response after being diagnosed 11 years ago with inoperable stage four liver cancer. With two children, Christopher (8) and Stephanie (12), Bonnie was given a six-month to one-year prognosis and took the most positive approach she could, embracing all the resources and a variety of treatment options. While receiving chemotherapy, the Held family still took the time for vacations and travel. During the winter months Bonnie, who loved to ski, went against doctor’s orders. As Bill explains, “It was about having a quality of life—to forget for a moment about her illness and have a smile on her face—it was worth it.”
In times like these, we primarily focus on the cancer patient, and we get it, they are battling for their life so it’s all hands on deck. But what we often neglect is the caregiver. And in this story, Bill who was working at the Huntsman Cancer Center noticed that a group was assembling down the hall from his office for yoga classes. After realizing these classes were being offered for cancer patients and their caregivers, Bonnie and Bill started attending together. While Bonnie was only able to attend for a few months it made a huge difference for both of them, and as a couple, brought them closer together. As her health diminished, Bonnie encouraged Bill to continue the practice of yoga, because of how it supported and helped him feel better.
The story for Bonnie ends here. At the age of 49, on October 7, 2009, Bonnie Held died, living a full year beyond the doctor’s original expectations. But her family, especially the children, found support through The Sharing Place, and the positive impact of yoga continued with Bill. With a nudge from Amy Conn, Founder of A Quality of Life Community (QLC), Bill eventually worked toward his teacher certification and now serves as QLC’s Director and as a yoga instructor. QLC offers a variety of free yoga classes (restorative, balance & core) six days a week at several local cancer treatment centers, such as Utah Cancer Specialists, LDS Hospital and Jordan Valley Medical Center. We encourage you to learn more and share with others. Donations, even small ones, will go a long way.
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