In 2011, I moved from the Department of Sociology at the University of Saskatchewan to the School of Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Ottawa, where I hold a Canada Research Chair in Creative Practices and Well-being.
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Running after Breast Cancer: Sharing Findings

The following post was written by Stephanie Saunders who is a graduate student working in the Creative Practices Centre at the University of Ottawa.

Two of our Creative Practices Centre teams recently shared research findings with women who have experienced breast cancer and health professionals.

OurRunning after Breast Cancer project was one of the studies we shared.  Women participated in the Running Room’s Learn to Run Clinic for Breast Cancer Survivors, which cumulated in the CIBC 5km Run for the Cure. At our presentation, we discussed four key themes that emerged from our data which consisted of audiorecordings/transcripts from individual interviews and a focus group, ‘body maps’, and weekly  ‘check-ins’. The slides appearing here are quotations from participants' interviews.  The four themes are summarized in the following slides, but more information can be found in the full presentation (link appears below). 

The first theme represents the importance of gaining practical advice and information which survivors can apply to their recovery. During the running group, participants attended eight 30 minute seminar discussions where they were able to talk to experts in a variety of different areas and receive sound advice for their recovery. 

running quotation 1.png

The second theme was related to the physical fitness gains that participants experienced as a result of regular running training. This was related to the progressive program of the Running Room, which slowly increases the running time in a systematic way. 

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The third theme was connected to creating a sense of commitment among group members to attend the sessions. Participants expressed the importance of having a group that was counting on you to be there, and that once you were there, things were easier. 

running quotation 3.png

Last, a challenge emerged to find ways to address all fitness needs within the group. Given that some were just beginning running, while others had been running prior to their breast cancer diagnosis, finding a fitness training program that addressed all needs is a goal for the future. 

Overall, group-based programs may help meet the informational and social support needs of some women who have experienced breast cancer. 

For more information and the complete presentation:

RaBC_2016__03_21_FINAL.pdf

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Findings from Creative Writing Pilot Study

Two of our Creative Practices Centre teams recently shared research findings with women who have experienced breast cancer and health professionals.

Our Creative Writing project was one of the studies we shared.  Women participated in writing workshops, wrote independently, and created collages as part of our program.  At our presentation, we discussed three key themes that emerged from our data which consisted of audiorecordings/transcripts of the workshops, photocopies of journal entries, and workshop evaluations, as well as collages which were photographed.  The background of the slides appearing here are snapshots of the some of the collages that the participants created.  The three themes are summarized in the following slides, but more information can be found in the full presentation (link appears below). 

Theme 1 creating safe spaces

The first theme is connected to ideas about safe spaces.  These spaces extended beyond the workshops and into the process of writing.  Such spaces provided participants with the opportunity to express emotions that they were not able to share with other people.

Theme 2 permission and balance

Some of the women felt they needed to give themselves permission to take the time to write and to adjust priorities, given the demands of work and caregiving, as the second theme illustrates.

Theme 3 fear and uncertainty

All of the participants expressed some anxiety about the future and fears of recurrence.  Writing provided opportunities for the women to develop a sense of strength, as well as acceptance about the uncertainties associated with breast cancer.

For more information and the complete presentation:

Creative_Writing_Presentation_ORCF_March_2016.pdf

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What do Running & Creative Writing have to do with Breast Cancer?

Poster_for_sharing_night_March_23_2016_FINAL.jpg

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