University of Calgary

Thrive Centre celebrates anniversary. Never heard of it?

UToday HomeFebruary 27, 2013

By Don McSwiney

The Thrive Centre, located inside the Outdoor Centre, between Kinesiology and the Olympic Oval, will host an open house from 1 to 3 p.m. on Wednesday.The Thrive Centre, located inside the Outdoor Centre, between Kinesiology and the Olympic Oval, will host an open house from 1 to 3 p.m. on Wednesday.Today a low-key celebration is being held on campus to mark the anniversary of the Thrive Centre. But if you’ve never heard of Thrive, it’s probably a good thing – the Thrive Centre provides a free, safe and comfortable exercise facility for cancer survivors and patients.

The Centre also provides expert exercise supervision and advice, based on the cancer and exercise research of Kinesiology investigator Nicole Culos-Reed, PhD.

Located inside the Outdoor Centre, between Kinesiology and the Olympic Oval, the centre is almost entirely run by trained student volunteers. On a sunny February afternoon, three student volunteers – Meaghan Hagerty, a fourth-year Health Sciences student, Ian Irvin, a fourth-year Kinesiology student, and Anita Quach a second-year Kinesiology student – are supervising a couple of clients participating in a vigorous workout.

Each of the students volunteers a minimum of two hours a week, mostly supervising participants as they follow exercise routines designed to meet their specific needs by certified exercise physiologists.

Besides providing expert assistance, the students also provide a shoulder to lean on and motivation to keep going, “There are three different varieties of participants that we see at Thrive,” says Irvin. “Some are go-getters who don’t know when to quit; others are on the other end of the spectrum and have a really hard time straining themselves enough. Then there are the more moderate exercisers who fall between the two. For the bottom end of the spectrum we provide motivation and encouragement. We monitor the top end and remind them, ‘You don’t need to be a hero – it’s all good, moderation is good.’ “

The students say that while their Thrive experience has given them insight into how to apply the knowledge they’ve learned in the classroom in a practical setting, it’s also taught them something about life. “You get to meet people with a different perspective on life,” says Quach. “You give them input and they give you input back. When you give them advice, you’re really helping them change their lifestyle. Going through cancer and treatment is devastating on them and if you can help them get through it, it becomes so uplifting that it isn’t a burden at all.”

For her part, Culos-Reed is thrilled and possibly even a little shocked at the level of commitment provided by her army of undergraduate volunteers. “I think it’s amazing, they are amazingly organized and they look after every aspect of the Thrive operation from fund raising, operations and marketing, to actually supervising patients on a daily basis.”

On Wednesday, Feb. 27, Thrive celebrates its one-year anniversary, from 1 to 3 p.m. Student volunteers, researcher Nicole Culos-Reed and users will be in attendance.

 

Follow UToday on Twitter.
Check the UToday website for news about events, people and trends at University of Calgary.
Follow what’s happening on campus using our interactive calendar.