Macmillan Active

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Macmillan Cancer Support has partnered with the Manchester Giants and Sport England on a £200,000 physical activity pilot scheme to help cancer patients in Manchester stay active and healthy.

Under the ‘Macmillan Get Healthy, Get into Sport Manchester’ project people affected by cancer will be able to access free activity sessions, some of which will be led by the Giants themselves.

Manchester is one of six areas in the UK to pilot the design, implementation and evaluation of a physical activity pathway for patients living with and beyond cancer, following growing evidence of the positive impact of exercise on recovery.

The activity sessions will take place across Greater Manchester at leisure centres, and community halls.

After an initial consultation with one of the project’s qualified trainers, cancer patients will be matched up with an activity which suits their physical abilities and interests, either as part of a group or on a one-to-one basis.

The project’s ambassador is Jonathan Deakin, 44, from Didsbury, who is living with an incurable brain tumour.

Jonathan was diagnosed with an advanced brain tumour in November last year and wasn’t expected to survive.

However he believes exercise pulled him through. Despite undergoing two serious surgical procedures to remove the tumour and an intensive course of chemotherapy, Jonathan continued to work as a personal trainer throughout, taking only a six-week break during his radiotherapy treatment.

He believes exercise has played a huge role in his recovery and is now encouraging others diagnosed with cancer to follow his lead and stay active. He will be delivering some of the activity sessions as part of the project.

“With cancer, you’ve got the psychological battle and the physical battle, but exercise can help with both of these things. It makes you feel as though you’re doing something to fight the disease. When you get that cancer diagnosis the temptation is to stop all exercise and lie in bed all day. Cancer changes life forever but you don’t have to give up everything you did before. Exercise can be so therapeutic and can take your mind off the diagnosis.”


With funding from Sport England, the project is being delivered by Macmillan Cancer Support and Manchester Giants with support from Public Health Manchester and Manchester City Council who have opened up their leisure facilities to people affected by cancer.

Jeremy Such, Macmillan Development Manager, said: “We know that exercise has an incredibly positive impact on recovery from cancer and can not only reduce the risk of dying or the cancer coming back, but also help to manage some of the devastating side effects of treatment such as swelling, fatigue or anxiety. However, our research shows that currently 1.6 million of the two million people currently living with cancer are not active at recommended levels 1 . This needs to change.”


To sign up for an activity session or for more information on the scheme contact Ambokile Bell, at the Manchester Giants, on 07745 259 419 or

If you’re affected by cancer and need information or support, call 0808 808 00 00 or

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