Moving Beyond Cancer Collaborative: Enhancing the Reach of Integrative Health and Wellness Services
The Covid-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted many communities, including the cancer community. Throughout 2020 and 2021, those in active cancer treatment and in-post treatment survivorship experienced disruptions in care. This included less access to services that can improve quality of life like physical therapy, acupuncture, and wellness programs.
Mari Galle, L.Ac, DACM, Oncology Acupuncturist and Director of Integrative Medicine at Cancer Rehab and Integrative Medicine, shared, “Our services complement cancer treatment and focus on how patients and survivors feel.” At Cancer Rehab, Galle along with Angela Wicker-Ramos and their team offer a multidisciplinary approach to healing and recovery for those with cancer. Services include oncology rehabilitation, lymphedema treatment, acupuncture, massage therapy, nutrition education, and more.
“[At the beginning of the pandemic,] I was worried that patients’ quality of life would suffer—from lack of access but also from increased isolation,” says Galle. Recognizing an opportunity to build off of Cancer Rehab’s unique service offerings, Galle in collaboration with Wicker-Ramos and others in the Central Texas cancer community founded the Moving Beyond Cancer Collaborative.
About the Moving Beyond Cancer Collaborative
The Moving Beyond Cancer Collaborative aims to provide accessible, affordable services to support mind, body, and spirit. This new nonprofit organization offers an array of integrative oncology health and wellness services, educational seminars, and fitness classes to all individuals impacted by cancer regardless of ability to pay.
“We recognized that barriers to wellness services existed during the pandemic but also before,” says Galle. “And by offering services online and removing cost barriers, we hope to support new communities.” Initially offering all services for free, online, and to anyone impacted by cancer—including those in active treatment, those in post-treatment, those caring for others, and those in the medical field—the Moving Beyond Cancer Collaborative hopes to offer something for everyone.
“Exercise and wellness are important during and after treatment, but a cardio class might not be the right choice for everyone,” Galle says. “We want to meet people where they are so in addition to cardio, we offer a variety of classes including chair yoga and meditation.”
Because many offerings are virtual, the Moving Beyond Cancer Collaborative is reaching people beyond Central Texas with folks as far as South Africa logging into classes. And as it becomes safer to do so, some in-person classes in Austin, Texas have been added as well. Later this year, the team is planning to also offer community-style acupuncture on a sliding fee scale based on ability to pay.
When the Moving Beyond Cancer Collaborative says classes are free, they are 100% free. Galle says, “We’re a nonprofit so of course we accept donations, but there is zero pressure to donate when taking a class with us.” The Moving Beyond Cancer Collaborative relies on fundraisers and sponsors in order to offer high quality services without any cost to participants while competitively compensating their instructors.
Want to Get Involved?
Be sure to sign-up for email updates on classes and offerings at mbccollabortive.org.
Classes currently offered each week include:
- Online and In-Person Yoga including Chair Yoga and Restorative Yoga
- Online and In-Person Pilates including Chair Pilates
- Embodied Movement + Dance
- Soul Connect (Guided Meditation, Breath Work, and Experiential Activities)
- Ja-api “Happy” Movement Class (Available in English and Spanish)
- Candlelight Meditation/Yoga Nidra
The Moving Beyond Cancer Collaborative also offers a Monthly Online Lymphedema Support Group and has a video library for 24/7 access to classes and educational seminars.
Current online videos include:
- Qi Gong
- Clases en Español
- Lymphatic Education & Resources
**Similar to any form of exercise, please receive clearance by your medical doctor to perform physical activity prior to participating in classes.
In signing up for the newsletter, you will also receive updates about new offerings like seminars on nutrition or women’s bladder and pelvic health.
You can also keep up with the organization on social media:
If you have questions, would like to sponsor an initiative, or want to get involved, you can reach the Moving Beyond Cancer Collaborative team any time by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. All proceeds of the Moving Beyond Cancer Collaborative go directly towards compensating instructors and presenters and to program development and growth.
Robin N. Richardson, MA is the Assistant Director of Care Delivery Transformation and Community Engagement at Dell Medical School’s Livestrong Cancer Institutes at the University of Texas at Austin, codesigning, implementing and evaluating supportive care programs with patients, survivors and loved ones. She co-teaches Aesthetics of Health, an undergraduate course at the UT College of Fine Arts, where students make art with and for those impacted by cancer. Robin has worked in Texas and Washington, DC for the past 15 years on care delivery transformation, large-scale implementation, and strategic planning. Robin earned a Master’s in International Human Rights with a focus on global health from the University of Denver and serves on the boards of Ground Floor Theatre and the Moving Beyond Cancer Collaborative. Her work is dedicated to public service, social justice, and exploring the intersection of health and the arts.
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