Founder of Cancer Wellness for Life, Sami Mansfield takes a collaborative approach in guiding anyone affected by cancer. Located in Shawnee, Kansas, her team of cancer exercise specialists uses exercise to improve quality of life. Uniquely qualified to work with the cancer community as a Crossfit® Level 1 coach and certified Cancer Trainer with extensive exercise and nutrition experience, Sami collaborates with hospitals, organizations, and individuals at any time in their diagnosis to prepare for and recover from treatment.
As a sought-after speaker, Sami shares her experience, knowledge and unique approach to cancer exercise for survivorship. An example of this is her collaboration with TheHillKC in Kansas City, MO, in creating the BUILD program, a functional fitness program for cancer survivors designed to reduce both physical & emotional side effects from a cancer diagnosis and treatments.
BUILD: Functional Fitness for Cancer Survivors from TheHillKC
Wellness is more than just being free from cancer. It is a lifestyle to help you prepare for the fight, reduce side effects and help you to live WELL.
– Sami Mansfield
Can you tell us about Cancer Wellness for Life and how it will help with surgical and treatment side effects?
Our company is focused on providing anyone affected with cancer with the tools and resources to help them feel well – whether that’s stronger, less tired, less anxious, more balance. We focus on flipping the switch from sickness back to wellness. Our pillars include exercise, mind/body and nutrition support.
Cancer Wellness for Life also works in the healthcare setting to provide support to clinical oncology teams through the same services and include patient education that can be administered or delivered from the cancer center. Basically we provide the info and resources and they are the voice. We use evidence-based information as much as possible but also realize that some of this is lacking so we lean on information from the exercise physiology and psychosocial world when needed.
What is the BUILD program and how is it making a difference in the cancer community?
BUILD is a functional fitness program (similar to crossfit) that is dedicated to the unique and very personal physical and emotional needs of cancer survivors. We focus on the basics of movement and functional fitness such as a squat or deadlift which are similar to sitting and standing or picking up something. We train these movements to effectively improve the entire movement of the body to make everything easier. While an arm curl is an effective exercise for the biceps, in the big picture that’s not super effective in every day.
We also have an incredible community which is probably the most powerful piece of BUILD. There is something amazing when you know the person next to you “gets it” your fears and concerns but also your hopes.
What is your passion?
My passion is two-fold:
1. Helping survivors get back to LIVING well – we kick their physical bootie in the healthcare world and give them a broken version back. That’s not good enough for our patients and I am dedicated to changing that.
2. Supporting our medical team in the same mission.
- To address the importance of exercise from the front end, to try to keep the bottom from getting so low.
- Empower them to provide additional options for patients.
- Be confident in what I practice such as the importance of exercise during treatment.
Can you tell us about your clinical trial involvement and what significant outcomes you expect?
I’m working with a few groups to use a model of BUILD (more function fitness) to change outcomes of common quality of life concerns such as sarcopenia, fatigue and depression. I expect better outcomes and know that we can get them. Functional fitness is 100% scalable and extremely useful but misunderstood as most people think about the crossfit games.
Tell us what your dream is to better the lives of those you work with and how you are going to get there?
My dream is to change the way that medicine is practiced in the US for oncology. To make wellness part of our care through very simple ways such as talking to a patient from the day of diagnosis about the importance of exercise and eating well. I feel that I’m already getting there. Just need to stay the course.
Our company has several hospital contracts in which we work in the trenches every day and that’s what is going to make change.
Photo Credit: Sami Mansfield
Learn more about Cancer Wellness for Life.