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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!


  1. I had the opportunity to talk with Doreen the other day on a project I’m working on. Her vitality and intelligence sings through the phone line. My first words to her: I wish I’d known you when my lymph nodes were removed during my breast cancer treatment. The good news for all of us? She transformed her cancer experience into something extraordinary breast cancer survivors can now benefit from. I urge all of you to check out the Pink Ribbon Program web page, consider becoming a trainer and spread the word about this Pilates-based program for recovery of your arm following breast cancer surgery.

    With all good wishes and thanks for your advocacy,

    Comment by Jody Schoger — Feb 4 @ 7:14 pm

  2. I am frustrated in trying to get health care providers to understand that the exercise protocol is geared towards early intervention and is very basic movement to start the recovery process. The most common comment is that “our patients are not ready for pilates exercises.” I try to stress the benefits of early movement to the overall recovery for the patient. Any ideas of ways to go about getting doctors and patients to give the program a try?

    Comment by Patricia Reid — Mar 14 @ 11:35 am

  3. breast cancer lymph nodes…

    I found Working It Out with the Pink Ribbon Program ” Imerman Angels Blog on Saturday when I was looking for stuff on breast cancer lymph nodes. I’m glad to see that not everyone is willing to cut corners and that there are some people who think a b…

    Trackback by breast cancer lymph nodes — Apr 10 @ 6:20 pm

  4. I just want to tell you that I am beginner to blogs and absolutely enjoyed you’re web page. Most likely I’m going to bookmark your blog post . You definitely have awesome stories. With thanks for sharing with us your website page.

    Comment by Efrain Musante — Feb 9 @ 10:03 pm

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