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Feb 4
Category: Healthy Living!,Imerman Active

Written By: Imerman Angels @ 6:20 pm

Pink RibbonDoreen Puglisi, founder of The Pink Ribbon Program, can speak to the results of the rehabilitating workout: she first implemented it on herself.  As an Exercise Physiologist recovering from breast cancer, she realized that there was no specific rehab protocol to transition post-operative survivors back into the activities that they loved the most. From her curiosity, the Pilates-based program was born.

“The program was just a great match between what the patients needed and the way that Pilates works- it is about integrating muscular movement and range of motion.  It’s not about lifting weight, but about control and breath.  It’s about getting the patient base back to a quality of life.”

According to Doreen, new research sites that early intervention in physical therapy is better than waiting towards recovery, which has prompted her desire to educate healthcare providers about PT for breast cancer survivors.  Read her article on this topic. In addition to incorporating activity, she also seeks to educate survivors to challenge recovery, while monitoring potential related issues.

“The true goal of the movement, designed for the patient based, to get them to graduate so that they can get through the rehab process, feel better, move better, have less limitations, know what the modifications are.”

Doreen’s words about recovering from a masectomy:

“I’ve been down this road.  You don’t want to feel forever that you can’t do these things (activities she loved). After my surgery, I was afraid to move, I thought it might hurt and may do more damage.  We educate the patients about this- movement is really great.  It helps you heal.  The goal is to move forward from being a pink ribbon patient.  That to me was so rewarding, it is exactly what happens.  I know what that feels like to go through that and get an arm to function again.  You go through moments where you think it wont  happen again and it happens.”

Pilates instructors with an interest in incorporating Pink Ribbon Programs into their studios are encouraged to reach out for information on implementation, education and training.  Last year she trained 100 healthcare educators and Pilates instructors though a 2-day educational program covering topics ranging from biomechanics to pain management.

A great quote from Doreen: “You take what life gives you and move forward.  I believe I got this cancer to help others.  It helped me to gain insight and I know that I can  help people who have gone through a similar experience to mine”.  Find a course in your area and get started!

Jan 28
Category: Imerman Active
Tags: , , , , , , ,
Written By: Imerman Angels @ 10:34 am


Jonny and Kelly McCarthy running in the Carlsbad Half Marathon

Jan 27

Laura and Amy

Laura Alexander, Director of PR/Events and Connection Specialist for IA, and Amy Rosko, Imerman Active Committee Chair (above), are kicking off 2010 with new ideas for our IA athletes!

Imerman Active involves athletes from all over the country.  Upcoming events include the Shamrock Shuffle in Chicago and the Half Marathon in Austin.  Thinking of running the 2011 Chicago Marathon?  It’s never too soon to start planning with Imerman Angels.

Reach out to for more details or visit

Jan 17

Cycle for SurvivalNeed an excuse to get your fitness back in gear?  Imerman Angels will be riding at Cycle for Survival to support research at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. The event takes place in NYC on January 31 and in Chicago on February 6. Cycle for Survival has already raised more than $2 million to fund research and clinical trials that bring new progress – and new hope – to people affected by cancer.

Feel free to gather a few riders together to form a team or coordinate through our Facebook Fan Page to find others to ride with you.  Go to to register and wear your Imerman Angels tshirts to help us spread the mission!

Not from the Windy City or Big Apple?  That’s okay!  You can ride as a Satellite Rider, in a gym or on the road.  Check out the website for more information.

FYI: Fundraising Minimum:

To ensure that fundraising commitments are fulfilled, each Cycle for Survival team participating at an NYC Equinox location is responsible for fulfilling the $1,000 fundraising requirement by January 15, 2010. Teams participating at Equinox Chicago are responsible for fulfilling the $500 fundraising requirement by January 22, 2010. If funds are not received by the deadline, we reserve the right to cancel your team entry and transfer the bike reserved for you to one of our wait-listed teams. Please contact us with any questions regarding the fundraising minimum requirement.”

Nov 12

Brian Pienta (left) at the Chicago Marathon

 I was a normal healthy 19 year old.  I spent the early months of 2006 playing hockey and skiing, just like every other winter since I was a kid.  I noticed a bump in my left thigh, and asked a doctor about it.  At that time it was barely noticeable, and the doctor told me it was a muscle contusion or a torqued muscle from skiing.  I didn’t think twice about it for the rest of winter, but by June 2006, the lump had gotten significantly larger, and a muscle contusion would have gone away.  I went to the doctor again, and this time the doctor decided that I should get an MRI to see if there was a mass.  As it turns out, there was a pretty big mass, about the size of a clenched fist, sitting between the muscles in my thigh.

In July 2006, I was diagnosed with a liposarcoma.  The tumor was between muscles but had grown onto my sartorius muscle.  This muscle stretches from the outside of the hip to the inside of the knee.  The doctors told me they needed to take the muscle out to ensure that all the cancer was removed.  Within a couple weeks the tumor and sartorius muscle were removed, and I spent 4 days in the hospital and then 3 weeks in bed at home.  I wasn’t supposed to get out of bed until my leg healed itself shut again.  The doctor warned me that the surgery might have long-term consequences on my physical activity, and I might not be able to play hockey again.  As soon as my leg healed from the surgery, I began physical therapy to learn how to walk again.  It took me a couple weeks before I was comfortable walking, and then radiation started.  35 rounds of radiation hurt the progress I was making in physical therapy, and gave me entirely new reasons to need more physical therapy.  I used a cane for almost 2 months after my surgery, a very strange sight for a college student on campus.  In October 2006, I was told I was in remission.  I had completed my treatments and cancer was nowhere to be found.

While still undergoing radiation I started to play hockey again (very poorly, but I got on the ice…).  The following summer I began cycling to get into shape, and signed up the LiveStrong Challenge in Philadelphia.  I completed the 100 mile ride one year after my cancer-free prognosis.  The next summer, I met Jonny Imerman and signed up to run the Chicago Marathon with Imerman Angels.  I had never been a runner, but the idea of challenging my leg and body to do something I had never done before cancer had me fired up.  In October 2008, almost two years to the day after my cancer-free prognosis, I completed the Chicago Marathon with IA.  This past summer, I trained for and completed the Chicago Triathlon and I ran the Chicago Marathon for Imerman Angels with my girlfriend.  The cancer fighters I met through Imerman Angels this year were my motivation.  I have met a few liposarcoma fighters worried about how their body might respond and if they will be able to continue and active life, and I ran to prove that we really can dominate cancer. 

- Brian Pienta

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