“Now, eighteen years into my MS journey, I have found exactly what I need...MS-FITT!”
I was an athlete my whole life prior to being diagnosed with MS and even the first ten years after diagnosis. Then, overnight everything changed. Now, eighteen years into my MS journey, I have found exactly what I need...MS-FITT! I must sincerely thank everyone who makes this program possible. McMaster University, the sponsors, PACE staff and volunteers. The personalized exercise program is phenomenal and is helping me immensely. It’s frustrating to have your abilities ripped away from you, but it’s amazing to have a place and the help to get some back. You help to make this happen, to make my life better.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Gail Phillips Participant of MacWarriors Cancer Exercise Program
“I love being a MacWarrior!”
I love being a MacWarrior!
A diagnosis of cancer, and the subsequent surgeries and treatments are very challenging, and take a physical and emotional toll on your body, heart, and mind. Many of us are blessed to have a circle of family and friends who surround us with love, positive energy, and hope. The Mac Warriors program builds on this circle by adding another source of strength and healing.
A skilled physiotherapist, and a phenomenal team of professionals and students work together with us to create a fitness program that is designed for our special and unique needs. The team understands the challenges of those dealing with cancer and works with us on an individual basis to strengthen our bodies and minds.
When I started with the Mac Warriors program 6 months ago, I could not stand up from a sitting position in a chair without using my arms to help me to get up. Now, I am not only leaping out of a chair, but I am also doing planks, push-ups and lunges! The Mac Warriors team guides us, supports us, and celebrates our accomplishments every step of the way.
In addition to becoming stronger and fitter, I am also a member of the Mac Warriors community and have another circle of friends and support around me. Meeting these friends and collaborating together within the Mac Warriors community is the BEST side effect of cancer treatments.
The Mac Warriors program changes lives … I know because it changed mine … and I am incredibly grateful!
Participant of MacWarriors Cancer Exercise Program
Annonymous Participant of MacCardiac Rehab Program
“There is no doubt in my mind that the McMaster Cardiac Rehabilitation Program has contributed to my success as a long-term transplant survivor”
In October 1989, I received a heart transplant at London Health Sciences University Hospital six days after suffering a massive heart attack. Following three months of treatment as an outpatient including six weeks of physiotherapy sessions, I was discharged and returned to Hamilton. I vowed to take better care of myself in consideration of receiving this second chance at life. Since regular exercise plays an important role in a healthy lifestyle and after attempting to exercise unsuccessfully at home, I decided to look into facilities in the community. In February 1991, I became aware of the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at McMaster University and entered the program shortly thereafter. That was over 27 years ago and since then I have become a dedicated member of the MacCardiac Program exercising regularly in a bright, well equipped facility under the supervision of attentive, qualified staff. Many other men and woman of like needs attend and over time a spirit of camaraderie has grown. There is no doubt in my mind that the McMaster Cardiac Rehabilitation Program has contributed to my success as a long-term transplant survivor; one who has enjoyed and continues to enjoy a healthy lifestyle.
Mark A. Smithson Participant of MacCardiac Rehab Program
“My overall health has greatly improved. My cardiac heath is significantly improved. My overall strength flexibility and mobility continue to improve. ”
In late March of 2018, I suffered a serious heart attack that resulted in 5 stents being placed in my right coronary artery. A great start to my recent retirement.
The resulting lifestyle change included cardiac rehabilitation, diet, and exercise. I tried utilizing workout facilities where I had a membership. I was not able to undertake the recommended exercises in what seemed to be an unsupervised environment for fear of having another heart attack.
I was told about PACE and I gave it a try. It is GREAT! The staff undertook an assessment of my flexibility, mobility, and taking into account my coronary health status, devised a workout program of cardio and resistance training. The program was designed considering the goal of being able to resume the certain physical activities that I enjoy prior to my heart attack. The very caring attentive staff and volunteers at PACE gave me the confidence undertake the cardiac rehabilitation exercises program.
I have been attending PACE since June of 2018. My overall health has greatly improved. My cardiac heath is significantly improved. My overall strength flexibility and mobility continue to improve. These improvements are the result of the exercise and stretching routines recommended and, revised on an on- going basis, by the engaged staff at PACE.
The staff at PACE are cheerful, attentive knowledgeable professionals. The student volunteers, who dedicate their time to the programs, are an integral part of the success of the PACE. Speaking with these young women and men ads to the overall experience and enjoyment of the time spent at the facility.
The McMaster Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at PACE is a huge contributing factor to my success in improving my overall health.
The overall atmosphere, the staff and the volunteers at PACE are big motivators in continuing to pursue the exercise program so important to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Patricia Baker Participant of MacSeniors Exercise and Wellness Program
“I was struck by and pleasantly surprised at the cheerful, empathetic and helpful welcome I received from the excellent professional staff.”
On my first day at PACE Seniors several years ago I was struck by and pleasantly surprised at the cheerful, empathetic and helpful welcome I received from the excellent professional staff. Also, the on-going support from the staff, student volunteers and other participants in the program was unexpected. The very pleasant social atmosphere is a bonus and the opportunity to connect with the volunteer students an added dimension. Nothing, except the arrival of some excellent new equipment (!), has changed.
Participant of MacSeniors Exercise and Wellness Program
Spender Edwards Participant of MacWheelers Exercise Program
“The MacWheelers program has been life-changing.”
When I was discharged from my Outpatient Physio program I worried that I might lose some of what I had recovered without ongoing physiotherapy. MacWheelers had been strongly recommended to me by the Outpatient team, but I was skeptical that going to a ‘gym’ could replace the specialized program that had helped my recovery so much. Once I experienced MacWheelers it was clear that it was far more than a membership at a gym!
I was assessed and a personalized workout regimen was created for me. Eventually, I came for extra sessions to practice my walking and I have experienced significant improvements. The MacWheelers program has been life-changing. The staff and volunteers provide exceptional expertise, support and encouragement. I am certain that I would not have the quality of life I currently enjoy without MacWheelers. Thank you for all you do!
Blaire White Student Program Assistant (MacCardiac Rehab & MacSeniors Programs)
“When I think of PACE, the first words that come to mind are 'family' and 'love'. ”
When I think of PACE, the first words that come to mind are “family” and “love”. Without fail, visiting PACE continually proves to be the best part of my week. The PACE creates an inviting environment that makes you want to come back. In fact, I continuously find myself coming to PACE outside of my scheduled hours because I miss the positive atmosphere. Our members are a truly inspiring group of individuals and their optimism, drive and loving spirits are contagious in nature.
Student Program Assistant (MacCardiac Rehab & MacSeniors Programs)
Ali Butt Student Program Assistant (MacWheelers and MacMS-FITT Programs)
“PACE will always be close to my heart and be an organization that I support but most importantly, it will remain a home away from home.”
I had a dual role at PACE, my responsibilities included being both a Student Program Assistant and the Volunteer Coordinator for the East gym. My “on-floor” work as a Student Program Assistant was instrumental in developing my communication, leadership, and teamwork abilities. Being given the unique privilege of working with special populations, such as those inflicted with spinal cord injuries or those diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, allowed me to become a better person and professional. By working with these populations and listening to their stories, I was able to become a more empathic and grateful person. My “off-floor” role as the Volunteer Coordinator granted me the opportunity to understand the administrative work that goes into successfully running a functional clinic. Having to train and manage 120 volunteers year-round was not an easy task but thankfully due to the overwhelming support and guidance from the senior leadership, I was able to fulfill my role to a high standard. Without the help of Stu, Colleen, Angelica, and other staff, I would have not been able to bring volunteer participation from 15 volunteers to over 100 in one year. Through my work, I have gained some invaluable skills and have met some incredible people with strength and motivation that precedes my own. PACE will always be close to my heart and be an organization that I support but most importantly, it will remain a home away from home.
Student Program Assistant (MacWheelers and MacMS-FITT Programs)
Andrew Mikhail Student Program Assistant (MacWheelers & MacMS-FITT Exercise Programs)
“To this day I still visit clients both inside and outside the PACE on a regular basis as I truly do consider them friends.”
My name is Andrew Mikhail and I’m a former volunteer and staff member at the PACE. My first experience with PACE was after my first year of undergrad when I began volunteering in the MacWheelers exercise program. I truly enjoyed my summer volunteering there, helping out the clients in a very friendly and supportive environments. I found myself wanting to be there more often and it didn’t feel like a “volunteering task” but more of a place where I can come socialize with clients while helping them follow their exercise programs. During my second year, I increased my volunteer shifts to 3-4 times per week where I got to know more of the lovely clients and previous staff. During May 2016, I had the honour of being hired as a staff member for the MSFITT and MacWheelers program. I can confidently say that it was my favourite employment. Aside from building on my friendships with both staff and clients, I was able to have more responsibilities and further help clients by creating individualized exercise programs and leading one on one sessions on specialized equipment such as the lokomat and Zero-G. Unfortunately, I am no longer a staff member at PACE after beginning my master’s degree, but my experience there will stay with me forever. Many of the skills I learned at PACE including good clinical practice and modifying exercises to fit an individual have really helped me in my graduate studies while organizing my own research studies. To this day I still visit clients both inside and outside the PACE on a regular basis as I truly do consider them friends.
Student Program Assistant (MacWheelers & MacMS-FITT Exercise Programs)
“PACE was such a friendly and inviting environment to volunteer in!”
PACE was such a friendly and inviting environment to volunteer in! It was such an amazing experience to be involved in such a functional and innovative space that provides support for many individuals in the area and eye-opening for what I would like my future career to look like.
“Volunteering at the PACE always brightened my day.”
No matter how busy or stressed I was during the school year, volunteering at the PACE always brightened my day. As a volunteer, it's truly rewarding and humbling to be a part of a client's journey and see them progress over time, knowing that you are making a meaningful difference in their lives.
“I gained lots of experience by working inside the exercise research and training centre.”
Volunteering for PACE while in high school impacted me in many ways in my life because I gained lots of experience by working inside the exercise research and training centre. The one-on-one experience with my client who always worked hard made me learn how to be a strong leader and made me learn how it feels tracking their performance over time. The staff members impacted me because they shared their knowledge of the machines to me. I am interested in the Kinesiology program offered at McMaster University and volunteering for PACE made me get the feel of what Kinesiology is about by tracking my client’s progress and keeping them motivated to stay healthy. Experiential learning at PACE personally helped me learn about improving the health of older people with chronic disease or disability and learn about new machines that help improve older people’s health.
“PACE is a place where the clients can socialize, share their experiences, and motivate each other to reach their full potential. ”
When I first joined PACE, I thought it would be a strict, fast-paced environment where the volunteers only strive to help the clients meet their physical goals. However, PACE is so much more than that. It is a place where the clients can socialize, share their experiences, and motivate each other to reach their full potential. The volunteers also benefit greatly from this program. The clients have so much to offer, and after a stressful day of classes I look forward to a friendly chat with the PACE members. The meaningful friendships you make while watching your clients reach their milestones are priceless. I experienced the rewards of a career in healthcare firsthand through PACE and I appreciate the chance to volunteer in such a welcoming environment.
I am very grateful for being a part of PACE, a place that focuses not just on one's physical well-being, but also provides a positive atmosphere that supports members' holistic well-being. I have been fortunate enough to learn a lot from the great PACE staff and members during my years as a volunteer and placement student and can never forget my experiences there!
“I’ve forged amazing connections with clients over the past year as a volunteer.”
I’ve forged amazing connections with clients over the past year as a volunteer. While every shift gives me an opportunity to apply concepts learned through my Kinesiology degree, I’m fascinated by the ability to put a face to the science of healthy aging. I’m simply inspired by the MacSeniors and MacCardiac clients. While I may help them through their exercise programs, I’m learning so much on what it means to keep my body and mind as top priority.
“The work being conducted by McMaster’s Physical Activity Centre of Excellence is truly nothing short of excellent.”
The work being conducted by McMaster’s Physical Activity Centre of Excellence is truly nothing short of excellent. It’s always so inspiring to see clients first arrive, often feeling a little low or defeated by their bodies and leaving feeling like they have so much they can accomplish. Working as a volunteer in PACE for the past two years has undoubtedly been one of my favourite aspects of my undergraduate degree because not only does it make you feel like you're making a difference, but it’s amazing to be surrounded by individuals working so hard to improve their health. Time and time again, I’ve had clients gush about how much this place means to them, and how much stronger they feel because of PACE, both physically and mentally. I’ve never heard of a program quite like PACE, and it’s clear that it’s not only touched me, but so many others in our community.
Jack Benson President, Foundation for Human Development
“McMaster PACE program meets our criteria of self-funding, excellent management, outstanding volunteers, and world class fitness programs”
The goal of the Foundation for Human Development is to assist local organizations that generate their own funding and have a mission to support projects that improve the lives of people in the community. The Foundation will consider financial support to projects that matches goals that focus on improving the lives of people with a development, mental, or physical disability, or financial hardships.
McMaster PACE program meets our criteria of self-funding, excellent management, outstanding volunteers, and world class fitness programs like the MacWheelers Exercise Program for Adults with Spinal Cord Injury; the MacMSFITT program for individuals living with multiple sclerosis; MacSeniors Exercise and Wellness Program; MacWarriors Cancer Rehabilitation Program and research; MacCardiac Rehabilitation Program.
We have had a successful relationship for the past 2 years and we expect to continue for many years to come.
President, Foundation for Human Development
The PACE is a state-of-the-art facility with excellent supports to conduct all manner of clinical trials in special populations seeking to remain active, healthy and mobile despite physical challenge.
Dr. Stuart Phillips Director, PACE
“The PACE is a state-of-the-art facility with excellent supports to conduct all manner of clinical trials in special populations seeking to remain active, healthy and mobile despite physical challenge.”
“PACE is a wonderful example of the interconnections among research, education, and community engagement. Our community members are valued stakeholders in all of our research endeavours.”
PACE is a wonderful example of the interconnections among research, education, and community engagement. Our community members are valued stakeholders in all of our research endeavours and share in the training of our incredibly bright students.
Daniel Dorey Participant of Gait & Balance Physiotherapy
“You and your team deserve the utmost praise for identifying the primary underlying issues and providing effective therapy.”
Thank you for a job well done. My multiple experiences with personal trainers and physiotherapists have rarely produced as positive a result. You and your team deserve the utmost praise for identifying the primary underlying issues and providing effective therapy. Additionally, you accomplished the objective within a very tight, externally imposed, time frame.
This wholehearted endorsement will be forwarded to my other health care providers, in the hope that patients they refer to you will achieve similar excellent results.