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How mom battling breast cancer used exercise to ‘push through’ challenges

RICHMOND, Va. -- The start of a new year is when a lot of people try to get fit.

For those going through breast cancer, working-out can have its challenges and its benefits.

A high-intensity workout is more than just a workout for American Family fitness instructor Chnoic Clarke. It's her physical and her mental outlet.

“Throughout it all, I just really kept a mindset of I want to stay healthy. I’ve been healthy. I’ve been active. I didn't want that to be derailed in this process,” Clarke said.

Her process started in April of 2015 when Clarke discovered a lump in her breast.

“I wasn't terribly worried because I was 33-years-old. You don't really hear about this that often. I assumed it was one of those lumps that will go away,” Clarke said.

It didn't go away.

The mother of a young daughter had breast cancer.

Clarke would go through chemotherapy, a double mastectomy, radiation, and more surgeries.

Even though Clark dialed back her exercise routine during treatments, doing "some" activity helped her. It’s that story she shares with others going through the same "process."

"You have to push through those challenges and understand and there are people so inspired by your presence,” Clarke said.

Healthy living is the same message TV host, author, and breast cancer survivor, Samantha Harris will bring to Massey Cancer Center's Women and Wellness event.

"We're very excited to have her,” Dr. Masey

Dr. Masey Ross is the medical director of integrative health at Massey Cancer Center where there's an emphasis on healthy eating and exercise.

“Research really does show that people who can get into a physical activity routine, it will actually improve their fatigue,” Dr. Ross said.

Obesity is linked to an increased risk of certain cancers, Dr. Ross added.

Dr. Ross said breast cancer patients should get 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise. That includes fast walking, yoga, and biking on a flat surface. Patients should get 75 minutes of vigorous exercise which includes aerobics, fast dancing, and jump roping. Dr. Ross said workouts have to fit each person. Due to treatments and surgeries, some patients will have limitations

"They may benefit from having a physical therapist to work with them and figure out how they can maximize their physical activity but in a safe way,” Ross said.

VCU Massey Cancer Center's 24th annual Women and Wellness breakfast and luncheon will be held on Tuesday, February 5 at The Jefferson Hotel.

Samantha Harris will be part of a Q and A discussion during the breakfast.

For ticket information for both the breakfast and luncheon, click here or call (804) 827-2195.

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