Personal fitness is a vital part of a child’s recovery when affected by cancer.
We offer this by way of safe, evidence-informed programmes for patients and survivors in a safe space to recover their fitness level. They can obtain (or regain) sports skills and improve their confidence for being physically active.
To ensure participant safety, programs must take into account participants’ disease, treatment stage, and related side-effects (such as compromised immune systems, cardiovascular toxicity, lower level of physical functioning, and muscle mass atrophy).
Nutrition during and after treatment can be a real source of stress and worry.
Children struggle with a loss of appetite, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, digestive problems, changes to their taste buds and mucositis (painful inflammation of the mouth and gut) during chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment. This can have a long-term adverse effect on eating habits and nutrition after treatment has ended.
Many children have a nasogastric tube in place during treatment to aid nutritional and help maintain weight. Steroids are also a regular part of treatment which can increase a child's appetite, create bloating and affect their behaviour ('roid rage).
As a result of these side effects, children and young people often can be over- or underweight, continue with unhealthy eating habits at a time when nutrition is a key part of recovery and rebuilding strength, feel self-conscious and lack confidence and self-esteem due to their change in appearance and physical side effects.
At The Joshua Tree, we work with a nutritional adviser to offer support with healthy eating to the whole family, as well as providing a fitness and well-being programme to our young people to support their physical and emotional well-being after treatment.
We fund 1 to 1 personal training sessions and access to the gym.
Many thanks to Michael Lynn (@mml_nutrition), nutritionist and friend of The Joshua Tree, for sharing these great recipes with our families.
Preheat oven to 180°C (Gas mark 4/350°F). Line a muffin tin with silicone cups or paper cupcake cases.
Add the flours, sugar, baking powder, salt and dairy free spread or butter to a food processor or blender and whizz to combine. Add the eggs and whizz again. Add gradually the soya milk and whizz until smooth and lump free.
Transfer the pancake mixture to a jug for easy pouring, then pour into the cupcake cases, filling each to about two thirds full. Top each muffin with some berries of your choice, pushing them down slightly into the mixture.
Bake for approx. 15 minutes until risen and golden. To check if they are done, pop a cocktail stick into the middle of one of the muffins and check it comes out clean.
Nutrition per muffin : carbs 29g, protein 8g, fat 6g
Boil the kettle, put the buttermilk and beaten egg in a food processor. Put the spinach in a colander and pour over boiling water to wilt. Squeeze out any excess water, add to the processor and blitz to a smooth purée.
Put all dry ingredients, plus 1 tsp salt, in a bowl and gradually mix in the purèe. If a little thick, add 1 tbsp water to loosen to a batter consistency
Heat a drizzle of oil in a large, non-stick pan over a medium heat and spoon in two or three ladlefuls of batter.
Cook for 1-2mins or until bubbles appear, then flip over for 1 min more or until cooked.
Repeat until you have 12 pancakes, serve topped with poached eggs
"I didn’t know whether I was going to get my GCSEs and get into college which stressed me out and I suffered from anxiety. Cancer doesn’t just affect you academically but physically and emotionally. I hated how I looked for a long time. I became very anxious and it set me back. After my first session with the personal trainer, I was exhausted, but that said, I was absolutely exhilarated..."
"Delivering health and well-being programmes for children and teenagers post-cancer treatment by building body confidence, self-esteem, nutritional knowledge and empowerment strategies all deliver exceptional results for young people affected by childhood cancers."