I don’t think that it is an understatement to say that this COVID-19 pandemic has changed every single aspect of our lives.

Just a few short months ago, I, like most people, didn’t realize the seriousness of it.

Honestly, I’ll admit that I was a little bit happy when my college classes were moved on line for the rest of the semester. I was even happier when I learned my kids would get three weeks off from school, and that during that time I would get to homeschool them. Normally our lives are so full, so I was excited for the slow pace and extra family time this would bring.

Yet, when I got the call from our largest hospital partner that they were considering suspending our services until the pandemic cleared, I nearly threw up.

I stammered around for the right solution to keep our doors open. I was so worried about what would happen to our patients during this time – I felt they needed us now more than ever. I worried about my staff and what would happen to them. I worried about all the momentum our organization had built up over the last few years, and what would happen to all of that.

In desperation, I suggested that we try virtual training during this time. I rambled on about how great Zoom calls were, and how we could try facetime or phone calls for anyone who wasn’t comfortable with that technology. I assured them it would be a great success and that their patients would continue to feel supported and progress with their health and wellness goals.

In actuality, though, I had no idea if it would work or not.

I was scared.

Now that we are in our 8th week of quarantine, I can look back on this “experiment” and say that it has been a great success.

We were able to successfully transition more than 90% of our patient population into a virtual training format. Even patients who were intimidated by the technology gave it a try. Not only that, but we are even conducting a research study on our virtual training model, and plan to publish it this summer! This will be an important step as we look to expand our services to rural areas – now we have a model that works for people who do not live near their cancer centers, but still wish to be active!

I have been so proud of our trainers and our patients for their flexibility and willingness to adapt to something new during this time. Sometimes trying a new thing can be scary…But oftentimes, it is the scary things that have the biggest payoff in the end.

That is why I want to share a testimonial from one of our patients with you. Like many of our patients, she wasn’t sure about how the virtual training would go. But she gave it a try and is so happy she did!

Here is Debbie’s story….

“As we all are adapting to a different daily lifestyle during these past weeks, keeping up with exercising has been important to me. I’ve been a patient at Maple Tree Cancer Alliance for three years. In fact, my Maple Tree Anniversary was April 19, and I celebrated that day (marking my 3rd year in Maple Tree’s program) by doing a walk at home 3 mile workout!

 It was important to me that no matter what is going on, I make sure to keep moving and stay active. the phrase “keep moving each day” has turned into one of my mottos!

 I was so happy to learn that Maple Tree was going to offer online exercises and the opportunity to keep working out with my trainer! Now, I always look forward to each Wednesday because of my online training session and my time connecting with Matt (my trainer) that allows us to have fun and just keep in touch! 

 Maple Tree has been so wonderful in helping me stay active during this time! I have been really enjoying their “Movement of the Day” and the other weekly workouts that they have been putting up for us to follow along too! Each time I tune in I get to try something new along with the added benefit of being introduced to some of the other trainers whom I don’t usually see! As a result, I’ve learned some new exercises too that I’ve added to my at home workouts.  I definitely recommend these opportunities, as they are quick and fun to do!!

 By doing these workouts, my goal is to keep as active as I can so I won’t feel like I have to start over once we are able to return to in-person workouts.  We’ve all worked so hard to get to where we were before the Pandemic.  I truly appreciate all the time and work our friends at Maple Tree give to helping us with our fitness goals. A BIG thanks to all of you!!”

 A BIG thank you to Debbie, for sharing your story! And a special thank you to everyone who has committed to staying active with us during this pandemic. It is an honor to continue to serve you!