GREENWICH, Conn. – A cancer diagnosis is nothing to kick up your heels and dance about. But if Heidy Malin has anything to say about it, more cancer patients will be doing just that as part of their recovery.
Partnering with the Arthur Murray Grande Ballroom of Greenwich, Malin, manager of Radiation Oncology at Greenwich Hospital’s Bendheim Cancer Center, helped to come up with the idea of “Dance for Your Health,” a weekly program for cancer patients and their families.
“It’s been amazing,” says Malin of the program, which just began after Labor Day. “Christine [Georgopolu, the studio owner] came to me and wanted to give something back to the community that would help cancer patients.
“People are not going to feel the best about themselves while they’re undergoing cancer treatment,” Malin says. “Some of the side effects – weight gain, hair loss, depression – don’t really make you feel like going to the gym to work out among all these super healthy people. It’s so easy to just retreat. But physical activity is an important part of recovery and helps to lessen some of those effects. This is a healthy way of getting people active.”
The sessions are held one evening a week at the Lewis Street studio, and have drawn patients and their family and friends, as well as staff members from Bendheim. “We’d like Greenwich Hospital to have a patient presence at the studio,” says Malin, who’s been at the Bendheim Cancer Center since its inception almost 20 years ago.
“Once people get on the dance floor and start moving, they begin to forget about their condition and just get into the activity,” she says. “It’s almost impossible not to have a good time when you’re dancing.”
Malin says she hopes the program will grow. “To me, it’s like a fun support group."