UNC Women's Gymnastics Shares the Love with Get REAL & HEEL on Valentines Day

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - The University of North Carolina women’s gymnastics team will hold its annual Blue & Pink meet on February 14 at newly-renovated Carmichael Auditorium. The Tar Heels will take on the University of Maryland in a special meet that includes a cancer awareness health fair, benefiting the Get REAL & HEEL program.

The cancer awareness fair will be held in the lobby of Carmichael Auditorium on February 14th from 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. The fair is free of charge and open to individuals of all ages. The gymnastics meet begins at 2:30 p.m. and is also free of charge.

Instead of flowers or sweets, you can bring your loved ones to a gymnastics meet and also get information that can make a lasting impact on their health and quality of life while supporting a program that benefits cancer patients.

Get Real & Heel is an individualized exercise and recreation therapy program associated with UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. The program serves breast cancer patients in North Carolina.  Each participant receives help from a team of experts who create an individualized plan that includes exercise and recreation therapy to manage cancer treatment-related symptoms and increase chances of survivorship and quality of life. The program was founded by Dr. Diane Groff and Dr. Claudio Battaglini who are both faculty in the Department of Exercise and Sport Science at UNC-CH and members of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. Because of grant support, this program is currently provided to individuals free of charge.

"Many patients experience side effects from cancer treatment and complementary forms of therapy can alleviate some of these issues. Get Real & Heel is designed to help patients deal with fatigue, pain, loss of muscle mass, loss of strength, depression and other common issues that diminish overall quality of life. Participants in our program see positive gains in areas like stress management, improved strength and endurance and enhanced coping skills", said Battaglini.

Derek Galvin, who is entering his 29th year as head coach of the UNC women’s gymnastics team, explained that “In the fall of 2005 the mother of one of our gymnasts was diagnosed with cancer. The members of the team witnessed the impact this battle with cancer was having on their teammate and her family. In an effort to support her family, as well as other families facing the challenges presented by cancer, the gymnastics team organized a health fair focused on providing educational information about services and programs available to help families cope with cancer.”

"This year the gymnastics team has partnered with UNC’s Get REAL & HEEL Program in the hope that the services provided by UNC’s Get REAL & HEEL Program will become even more well known to families in our community who are facing the challenges presented by breast cancer," he added.

Groff expressed that, “We feel so fortunate that Coach Galvin and the women’s gymnastics team are committed to promoting health in our community. By hosting this cancer awareness fair and fundraiser for the Get REAL & HEEL breast cancer program we know that we are doing our small part to decrease the negative and often devastating effects of cancer and cancer treatment. This partnership is essential in helping us improve the quality of life of women who have had breast cancer. We hope that a wide range of individuals come to learn more about what they can do to take charge of their health and to see an amazing gymnastics competition.”

Parking is free of charge the day of the event. The Cobb Deck will be available for individuals attending the fair and gymnastics meet.

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