Media Contact:
Ruth Nicolaus

For the Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo,  hosted by the Minot Y’s Men’s Rodeo 

Minot woman benefits from exercise program during cancer treatment; rodeo raises funds for program

Minot, N.D. (September 13, 2018) – JoNell Gibson has the energy to knit, enjoy her book club, and build garden benches, yard art and autumn decorations from repurposed items. 

But it wasn’t too long ago that she was exhausted. 

The Minot woman was diagnosed with breast cancer last year and underwent a lumpectomy last November. Sixteen treatments of radiation left her tired and not feeling well at all. 

But she began the exercise program at the Minot Family YMCA. Designed specifically for people undergoing cancer treatment, the Trinity Cancer Exercise Rehab Program at the YMCA provides a way for them to exercise, under the supervision of trainer Russell Gust and his staff, who design a program for each of them, specific to their needs. 

The exercise program helps them gain back their life quality and give them the energy that cancer has sapped from them. 

For Gibson, it helped. She took part of her treatment in Arizona, where she and her husband, Vaughn, winter. “When I came home from Arizona, I wasn’t motivated. I was tired all the time,” she said. “I’m a believer in exercise, that it makes you feel better.” 

The program consists of twelve weeks, and Gibson has two weeks left. When she started, she could walk five laps, a little more than a half mile, before she was tired. Her goal was two miles: sixteen laps, which she has attained. She also uses the circuit machines, to strengthen leg and arm muscles, and rides the stationary bike as well. 

 “Going through cancer, and having radiation, you’re not really feeling like exercising very much,” she said. “This is a good way to get back into it.” 

Gibson has a friend who is going through cancer treatments, and she’d like her friend to use the exercise rehab program. “I told her I definitely think I have more energy.” The program isn’t intimidating for non-exercisers. “It’s geared towards your level,” Gibson said. “It’s not going to make you a marathon runner. It’s to build up strength, so you feel stronger and are able to do things better.” 

The tumor in Gibson’s breast hadn’t spread, and doctors were able to remove it. Life is getting back to normal, which includes Bible studies, a homemakers club, and the knitting and book club. Her improved energy has helped her and a friend work on their hobby business, building garden and home items from recycled pieces. 

And for that, Gibson is grateful. 

The Minot Y’s Men’s Rodeo hosts a Tough Enough to Wear Pink night on Friday, October 6 during the rodeo at All Seasons Arena, North Dakota State Fair Center in Minot. Fans are asked to wear pink to the rodeo to bring recognition and awareness to those fighting cancer. 

Tough Enough to Wear Pink t-shirts are for sale at the Minot Family YMCA. Proceeds from t-shirt sales go to fund the Exercise Rehab program; since it began, over $680,000 has been raised and 521 people have gone through the program, at no charge. 

More information can be found online at The rodeo is also held on Sat., October 6 at 1 pm and 7 pm and on Sun., October 7 at 1:30 pm.

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