Team AICR’s Teen Triathlete

Sabrina Simpson ran her first half-marathon at the age of 9, and she’s been running for charities ever since. Now 15 years old, Sabrina is AICR’s Cancer FIghter of the Month. Last month, AICR staff member Chelsea went down to North Carolina to cheer on Sabrina in her triathlon for Team AICR and give her family a tour of the Marilyn Gentry labs at University of North Carolina. Here, Sabrina tells us why she runs for charities and how she keeps going.

Q: First, how did you do in your triathlon?

A: Pretty well! I was a bit disappointed that I received 4th place in the 16 to 18 age group even though I am still 15 until September 14th. But apparently they base your age group by birth year only so I was placed in the 16-year-old category. Otherwise, I would have been in 1st place! I had loads of fun though, which is really what matters.

Q: Why did you want to give your donations to AICR? 

A: Ever since I started raising money through racing, I wanted to contribute to cancer research. I’ve had multiple friends and family members die from cancer, and I’ve always wanted to somehow help to find a cure for it and help people prevent it. AICR was just so supportive and helpful that I decided the money would be best used if it were in their hands. Continue reading

Q&A with our Cancer Fighter of the Month. How does she do it?

Carla is April’s “AICR Cancer Fighter of the Month”. A mother of two, Carla’s using her personal fitness goals to raise funds for cancer research and build awareness for health, fitness and cancer prevention. We asked Carla about her active lifestyle and what motivated her to start her journey to health.

Here are photos of Carla before and after.

Q:  You’re competing in a figure competition next month. Why did you decide to compete and fund-raise for AICR? 

A:  With my 40th birthday approaching in November 2011, I started to contemplate doing a figure or bodybuilding competition to commemorate this milestone. I had recently gotten back into shape after having my daughters and was really passionate about maintaining a healthy lifestyle. I was still somewhat on the fence about the decision when something happened that created a “tipping point” for me. My dear friend Sue lost her battle with ovarian cancer. I became determined to find a way to pursue my goal while also raising funds for cancer research. I’m just so grateful AICR was there to support me in doing so.  Continue reading

Gardening for Survivorship

As a new dietetic intern at AICR, I enjoyed many thought-provoking presentations at last week’s annual AICR Research Conference. However, just as interesting were conversations we had over lunch and between sessions.

One conversation I particularly appreciated was with author and registered dietitian (RD), Diana Dyer. She is a three-time cancer survivor who changed her own diet and lifestyle for recovery and to help prevent recurrence, as told in A Dietitian’s Cancer Story. Her story has been helpful and inspirational to many cancer survivors.

Now, Diana is an organic garlic farmer in Michigan and as an RD, she shares her nutritional expertise and love of farming with dietetic interns who spend some time with her – and get their hands a little dirty – to learn about growing food.

Why garden? Many cancer survivors find gardening therapeutic, and an important part of the cancer healing process. The physical activity recommendation from the 2007 AICR expert report is to engage in at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. Physical activity doesn’t have to be running or lifting weights. Gardening is a great way to be active while doing something you enjoy – that way you’ll be more likely to keep doing it.

There are other reasons to garden too:

  • Know where your food comes from – the interns on Diana’s farm learn what it takes to grow food.
  • Nutritional benefits – freshly harvested (cancer-fighting) foods are generally at peak nutrient levels.
  • Improve the earth – you can compost foods scraps and leaves and then use the resulting humus for healthier soil.
  • It’s a great hobby to re-introduce exercise for those recovering from cancer treatment, and…
  • it’s a lot of fun!

Check out our video on container gardening if you’d like to try your hand at growing food.

Does your local cancer center have a vegetable garden?