At the age of 12, Ryan Hardy has
already battled a brain tumor and leukemia. And while he overcame both,
between things like chemotherapy and steroids, his treatments took
their toll. He went from about 60 pounds to about 120 pounds, almost just with the steroid use. And that just was really tough for him.
Doctors say it’s common for kids to gain weight or lose muscle during cancer
treatment. But for all they deal with during therapy, it’s after their finished
that the frustration can really set in. While the kids have the heart and have the mind to get back into physical
activity, once they’re chemotherapy is over, their bodies sometimes just aren’t ready.
Which is why experts at Nationwide Children’s Hospital are among just a few in the
U.S. to develop fitness programs specifically designed for young cancer
survivors. It’s called the Play Strong program and was
created in an effort to continue care long after cancer is gone. Nearly 80%
of kids overall now survive cancer, so caring for them after the fact
is becoming more of a priority. Let’s not just get them better. Let’s get him back to what they want to do.
Let’s get them back to the way they were before and if we can, let’s get them back better
than they were before. To do that, children here work with athletic
trainers like, Travis Gallagher, who help the kids properly rebuild strength and agility,
and regain balance in confidence. For kids like Ryan who spent years in
treatment, the hardest part was watching friends do what they couldn’t. But day by
day, that’s less and less of an issue. I’m hoping by the end of this, I’m like back to running and stuff. But, like, now I can do a lot more than I used to. At Nationwide Children’s Hospital, this is Clark Powell reporting.