FIGHTING FIT: Tony Sullivan is keeping healthy after being diagnosed with bowel cancer and is is keen to stay fit while undergoing chemotherapy treatment at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital.
FIGHTING FIT: Tony Sullivan is keeping healthy after being diagnosed with bowel cancer and is is keen to stay fit while undergoing chemotherapy treatment at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital. Warren Lynam

Patients fighting cancer with exercise in Qld first

THEY say exercise is good for the body and mind and now it's helping cancer patients like Tony Sullivan.

The former lifesaver and father-of-two was diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer more than a year ago at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital.

Initially, the prognosis was that he only had about six months to live but the 54-year-old was determined to not go down without a fight.

Joining him in that fight is exercise physiologist Curtis Forbes who has been helping him and hundreds of others train in Queensland's first dedicated exercise physiology gym for cancer patients.

The gym is located in the Adem Crosby Centre at Sunshine Coast University Hospital and was provided thanks to the efforts of Wishlist.

"I'm so proud to see the patients who are undergoing chemotherapy, radiation and immunotherapy in here exercising and interacting with one another," Mr Forbes said.

"Last year I approached Wishlist with this idea and here we are seven months later offering a Queensland-first service to Sunshine Coast cancer patients.

"Exercise can help manage many of the common side effects of treatment, speed up a patient's return to usual activities, improve quality of life, and some research has shown that it can reduce the risk of cancer returning."

Mr Sullivan has kept active for most of his life and said he enjoyed not only the physical benefits of going to the gym but mental and social as well.

"We've all got cancer so we all understand what each other are going through and everyone talks freely about it and encourages each other as well," he said.

"We all drive each other and it's a real boost coming to the gym.

"I still swim about 1km most days at Mooloolaba beach and work out here (at the university hospital) when I come in for treatment."

Since his diagnosis, Mr Sullivan said he had tried to remain positive and was focused on living the best possible life he could.

"You don't whinge about any little minor things and I always try to be happy," he said. "I'm just living life to the fullest."



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