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For Kids Who Conquer Cancer, Focus Is On Fitness

In an effort to get children back into shape following treatment, Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio is one of just a few in the U.S. to offer exercise programs specifically designed for kids who overcome cancer. Video Courtesy of Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

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-Ready, set, go. -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. It was just with the steroid use and that's just was really tough for him. -Doctor said 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 finish that the frustration can really set in. -And while the kids there have the heart and have the mind to get back into physical activity once their chemotherapy is over, their body sometimes just aren't ready. -Which is why experts at Nationwide Children's Hospital are among just a few in the US to develop fitness program specifically designed for young cancer survivors. It's called the Play Strong Program and was created in an effort to continue care along after cancer is gone. Nearly 80% of kids overall now survived cancer so caring for them after the fact is becoming more of of a priority. -Let's not just get them better. Let's get them back to what they wanna 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 helped the kids' properly rebuild strength and agility and regain balance and 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 December I'm like back to running and stuff but, now I can do a lot more than I used to. -At Nationwide Children's Hospital, this is Clark Coan reporting.