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WELCOME TO THE PEER HOME-BASED PROGRAM

Research has demonstrated that physical activity is an effective tool to help diminish the side-effects of cancer treatment and improve the quality of life of children affected by cancer and certain hematological diseases. We created the PEER home-based program to motivate families in the Kids Cancer Care community to be more active on a daily basis and to help them achieve the Canadian Physical Activity Recommendations. We have a page for each age group and children with specific conditions, so let's GET MOVING!

 

DISCLAIMER AND LIMTATION OF LIABILITY

PLEASE READ BEFORE CONTINUING

The PEER program website contains guidelines and recommendations of physical activity for pediatric cancer patients. While Kids Cancer Care, the PEER coordinator, and volunteers make every reasonable effort to minimize exposure to known risks, we recommend that you consult your doctor and obtain a physician clearance form before joining the online PEER program. Additionally, some children may have a unique condition, circumstances, and/or limitations. Please modify the suggested activities as necessary.

 

You understand and agree that in using this website and online content, participating in a Kids Cancer Care program, using any equipment, and/or using Kids Cancer Care facilities, you will be involved in physical activity and that with any physical activity there is risk of injury. Additionally, you agree that you are participating voluntarily and do so at your own risk. You agree to fully release the Kids Cancer Care and its officers, directors, agents, staff, instructors, and volunteers from all claims or lawsuits for any injuries, death, property damage or theft, losses, or any other liability of any kind, arising directly or indirectly out of your participation in the use of this website/content, Kids Cancer Care programs, use of any equipment, and/or Kids Cancer Care facilities.

ABOUT PEER

The PEER program (Pediatric Cancer Patients and Survivors Engaging in Exercise for Recovery) was designed knowing that the right prescription for physical activity can help your child develop strength, endurance, energy, coordination and flexibility. Regular physical activity helps improve both physical and emotional well-being, helping improve mood, social connection and academic achievement.

PEER is a research-based exercise program designed by pediatric cancer specialists from the University of Calgary and Alberta Children's Hospital to help parents and health care professionals use exercise to help ease the long-term impact of cancer and its treatments on children. The PEER program meets Canadian Association of Nurses in Oncology (CANO) guidelines and is expected to support nurses in their understanding of the benefits of exercise for children affected by cancer. Endorsement is provided by CANO for a time period of one year, ending May 2021. Specialized exercise programs are designed for each age group. 

PEER activities for preschool children are designed to get little ones moving to help them regain their confidence, rebuild their gross motor development and their physical literacy. Our PEER curriculum for school-age kids allows participants to develop fundamental movement skills in a fun and safe environment as we focus on providing inclusive, developmentally appropriate sport and physical activity for kids affected by cancer on and off treatment. PEER for teens is a weekly exercise program designed to help teens rebuild fundamental physical skills, while restoring immune system, energy levels and confidence, by engaging in fun activities with fellow teens. 

PEER website purpose

The purpose of this pilot website is increasing the awareness about physical activity benefit during and after childhood cancer, promoting an active lifestyle and decreasing sedentary behaviour and risk that comes with it. The goal of this website is to make physical activity accessible for families and thus, increase physical activity levels helping children affected by cancer to be more actives daily and meet physical activity recommendations to avoid complications that arise or worsen because of sedentary behaviour.  

 

Our objectives are:  

  1. Provide families with a variety of practical and fun activities that can be done at home, outside or in the hospital environment that will work different fundamental movement skills

  2. Provide families with recommendations and practical ideas about physical activity that can be performed for their child affected by side effects of cancer and its associated treatment such as balance issues, obesity, low bone density, peripheral neuropathy, etc.  

  3. Increase awareness about physical activity benefit through blogs and summaries of latest research findings.  

 

How to use the website

In the website you will find physical activity ideas for three age groups (preschool, school and teens). We ask that you follow the activity plans that are outlined for you each week (3/week) in order to get the most out of what we have to offer. Parents involvement and supervision is extremely important to make physical activity safe and enjoyable. You know your child better than anyone, please feel free to adapt a game with your child’s favourite characters to make the activity more exiting. Please, take that time to share and play with your child and include other family members like siblings, grandparents and even pets. Our desire for this website is it becomes something that motivates your child to get active on their own and with others.   

 

Please note that this website will be going through continuous updates and additions as it is a pilot program as we assess the interest of families and success of our offered activities. If the interest in the website is evident, we will be working towards creating a more professional website to increase the ease of access for all. More activities will be added each month and additional recommendations regarding special conditions will be added soon. If you have comments regarding the website, we would love to hear them either through the survey or directly via email. Your feedback is very important to us as we aim to make this website one that meets your needs. Please take a few minutes to fill up the survey and provide valuable feedback.  

 

Hope you enjoy! 

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WHO WE ARE

 

CAROLINA, PhD

Biomedicine and Health | Adjunct Assistant Professor, Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Calgary | PEER Program Coordinator, Kids Cancer Care Foundation  

I have the best work in the world, and the most amazing team. I am the coordinator of the Pediatric cancer patients and survivors Engaging in Exercise for Recovery (PEER) program at the Kids Cancer Care Foundation, an exercise program for kids and teens affected by cancer. We ensure kids exercise meanwhile having fun and socialize in a safe environment. I also hold an Adjunct Assistant Professor degree in the Faculty of Kinesiology at the University of Calgary. This allowed me to continue research with the Health and Wellness Lab, the lab in which I completed my Postdoctoral appointment. The best part of my work is that we return the kids abilities to be kids again. Every smile, motor, fitness or social improvement that I observe in the kids is an invaluable treasure that I preserve. I am originally from Uruguay and I did my bachelor’s in physical education and sport. I was a competitive track and field athlete and I have always believed in the power of exercise as a tool to mitigate side effects from chronic conditions and improve mental health. I moved to Spain to do my master and PhD where in 2004, I started to research the effects of exercise in children with cancer. At the end of a 16-week exercise program, the kids were interviewed, and a 7-year-old boy said what he enjoyed most about the program was that “Now I can play with my sister without getting tired”. That answer makes me the happiest person in the world and summarizes all that exercise means in the life of children with cancer. Exercise is a great way to counteract the side effects of therapy, improve quality of life and facilitate the reintegration of the kids in the community. I am also so blessed to have the opportunity to work with the bravest children and the most grateful families of the world. My dream is seeing exercise become part of the standard care during childhood cancer treatment and survivorship.  

ROXY

Volunteer - Lesson planning, PEER in-person and online sessions, website development

Hi everyone, my name is Roxy and I have been a volunteer with Kids Cancer Care since the fall of 2016. During this time, I have been involved with the PEER program and I have also attended Camp Kindle (camp name Piper). I graduated from the Faculty of Kinesiology at the University of Calgary in 2019 and am also a Certified Exercise Physiologist (CSEP- CEP) and a Fascial Stretch Therapist (FST Level 1). Volunteering with Kids Cancer Care at the PEER program each week is always something I look forward to! I have had many learning opportunities and made great memories engaging with the kids and their families. In my spare time I love being active whether that is going hiking, rock climbing, travelling, hanging out with friends, or staying home to bake.

SHAELENE

Volunteer - Website development, lesson planning, PEER in-person and online sessions

Hello, my name is Shaelene. I have been volunteering with Kids Cancer Care and the PEER program since the fall of 2019. In this time, I have already developed great memories and have had a variety of learning opportunities. I have loved my time working with all of the age groups both in person, and now online! I enjoy all of the time I am able to put towards the PEER program every week. This fall I will be entering the third year of my undergraduate program where I am majoring in Biomedical Sciences and working towards a minor of Bioinformatics at the University of Calgary. Following my undergraduate, I have aspirations of studying medicine. Something about me is I love to challenge myself. Growing up I did so through dancing at the elite level, and I continue to do so through travelling around the world, teaching dance, hiking with my dog and volunteering with PEER.

ALYSSA

Volunteer - Website development, lesson planning, PEER in-person and online sessions

Hi everyone! My name is Alyssa and I have been a PEER volunteer since the fall of 2017. I have been involved with PEER at the Gordon Townsend Gymnasium at the Alberta Children’s Hospital as well as at Jamie’s Preschool. I graduated from the Bachelor of Health Sciences Program at the University of Calgary in 2020. I will begin medical school at the University of Calgary this year. Being a PEER volunteer has been a very memorable and enjoyable experience. I leave PEER sessions feeling happy because the children radiate positivity and I learn from them every week. A fun fact about me is that I danced for 15 years at an elite level and travelled across North America to compete. I now teach dance and use this experience to help me as a PEER volunteer!

LEANNE

Volunteer - Lesson planning, PEER in-person and online sessions

Hello everyone! I am Leanne (camp name Mayo). I have been a volunteer with Kids Cancer Care since 2017. I am currently studying at the University of Calgary towards a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology. I love any and all sports, especially soccer which I have played since I was five. Spiderman is my favourite superhero and yellow is my favourite colour. I love working with kids and am working towards medical school with the ultimate goal of becoming a pediatric oncologist. With my athletic background, knowledge in kinesiology and experience volunteering with Kids Cancer Care, my goal is to get these kids feeling competent within physical literacy which will increase their self confidence.

AUSTIN

Volunteer - Lesson planning, PEER in-person and online sessions

Hello my name is Austin! I joined the PEER team in Fall 2018 when I also became a volunteer tutor for the Kids Cancer Care. I am currently studying mechanical and biomedical engineering at the University of Calgary and I work in the Human Performance Lab as a research assistant. I have had so much fun working with the PEER kids and I look forward to continuing working with this team in the future. My interests include sports, film, and music.

GABRIELLE

Volunteer - Lesson planning, PEER in-person and online sessions

Hello, I’m Gabrielle! I have been involved with PEER since September of 2017. After listening to a guest lecture from Carolina in one of my first year classes on exercise in cancer populations, I knew I wanted to be involved. In April, I graduated from the University of Calgary with a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology and am applying to Canadian medical schools this summer with the hope of admission in the fall of 2021. I have always loved working with kids and see myself specializing in pediatrics one day. However, PEER has made me especially interested in pediatric oncology, as the spirit of these kids has truly captured my heart. I love to stay active by playing soccer on my women’s team and skiing with my family! I am a big fan of the Calgary Flames and try to catch as many games as possible! I look forward to PEER every week and love meeting the kids and families who are involved in the program so, if we haven’t met yet, please introduce yourself next time you see me!

EMILY

Volunteer - Lesson planning, PEER in-person and online sessions

My name is Emily and I have been volunteering with Kids Cancer Care since 2018. I recently finished Health Sciences at the University of Calgary and will be heading to the University of Saskatchewan in the fall. I love working with the PEER program because I have always been passionate about health and exercise and I enjoy helping others lead active lifestyles. Some of my favourite ways to stay active are spin class, yoga, and lifting weights in the gym. In my spare time I like to be outdoors either hiking in the mountains, boating at the lake, or relaxing on my farm.

HAILEY

Volunteer - Lesson planning, PEER in-person sessions

Hi! I'm Hailey and I started volunteering with PEER in the Fall of 2018. I completed a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Dance from the University of Calgary and then moved to England to complete my M.Sc. in Dance Science from the Trinity Laban Conservatory of Music and Dance.  I have been a sessional instructor at the University of Calgary and now teach full time as an Artist-in-Residence at Calgary Arts Academy, a public charter school. I love working with the kids at PEER and helping to inspire love and joy for movement of all kinds.  A fun fact about me is that I grew up in Yellowknife N.W.T and have travelled to remote parts of the Arctic, including Greenland!

JAVERIA

Volunteer - Lesson planning

My name is Javeria. I have been working with the PEER program for about 5 years. I am extremely passionate about kids well being including spiritual, physical, and mental health. In my free time, I enjoy tennis, biking, hiking, and travelling around the world. 

USEFUL LINKS AND RESOURCES

JUPITER 

This site includes lots of material regarding learning fundamental movement skills including how to teach your kids to kick, jump and catch. This website has very practical videos and information that will help you to increase your child’s physical literacy.  

https://fms.60minkidsclub.org/?page_id=270 

 

Active for Life  

Canadian not-for-profit social initiative with the objective to help parents give their children a solid foundation for life through the development of physical literacy. It is a Canadian website that brings you a lot of amazing ideas to keep your kids active. There are games classified by age range and by movement skill. In addition, you can also subscribe to their newsletter.   

https://activeforlife.com/ 

 

Government of Canada - Being active 

This website outlines the benefits of physical activity, the recommended guidelines regarding physical activity, introduces ideas to add activity to your lifestyle, and encourages children to be active and play safely.  

https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/being-active.html  

 

GoNoodle 

This is a well-known webpage that offers hundreds of different videos that motivate your kids to move using musicals and challenges.  

https://www.gonoodle.com/ 

 

Must visit Calgary playgrounds 

This site includes a list of some of the best playgrounds in Calgary. Hopefully it gives you some options of where to go when it is nice outside, and your children just want to get out and play.  

https://www.familyfuncanada.com/calgary/6-must-visit-calgary-playgrounds/  

 

Family Fun Calgary 

This is a really nice website that includes ideas for outdoor activities, a calendar with everything going on in Calgary and so many other options to get you out and moving around.   

https://www.familyfuncanada.com/calgary/  

 

Pediatric Oncology Exercise Manual (POEM) 

Download for free a very comprehensive guide about recommendations and cautions to exercise during pediatric cancer. This guide was created based in the best evidence available at the moment by international professionals.  

https://www.ucalgary.ca/poem/  

 
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HAVE ANY COMMENTS OR QUESTIONS? CONTACT US

Thanks for your interest in the Peer Home-Based Program. For more information, feel free to get in touch and I will get back to you soon!

 

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