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Local cancer survivor uses sports therapy to overcome nerve damage

By Admin User on November 15, 2019

Adam Brown had his life all figured out. He was a happy husband and father and was perfectly healthy. In the summer of 2015, Adam’s life was tragically flipped on its head.

Adam found what he assumed was a canker sore on his tongue and soon discovered that it was cancerous. After a half dozen referrals to various specialists in the city, Adam underwent an invasive surgery. The procedure removed over 40 per cent of the tissue in his tongue and one-third of his lymph nodes. Due to complications that resulted in permanent nerve damage, Adam lost the ability to move his right arm.

“When I woke up from surgery, it was so very difficult,” said Adam. “I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t eat and I really wanted to die.”

Adam was referred to the Alberta Cancer Exercise (A.C.E.) program of the U of A and began attending classes at Corbett Hall. He then learned of Wellspring, a cancer support centre in south Edmonton specifically tailored for recovering cancer patients. He transferred to Wellspring, where he continued to attend his A.C.E. classes and slowly regained mobility in his arm. By using a combination of weight training, endurance and stamina fitness and yoga, Adam has regained his entire range of motion in his right arm.

Adam attributes his recovery mostly to not having to face his journey alone. The staff and members at Wellspring encouraged him; they were all, as he said, sailors in the same boat.

“Wellspring has rebuilt me,” he said. “Not only physically but mentally and emotionally as well.”

Adam continues to attend classes at Wellspring and has also begun volunteering there– he currently teaches a course on soapstone carving to recovering cancer patients. Wellspring’s programming is free-of-charge and run entirely on donations.



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