Health & Wellbeing: How Boutros Bear is helping fight Covid
Exercise, nutrition and mindfulness were invaluable in breast cancer survivor Sheila Kissane-Marshall’s battle back to health. Now she’s helping people fight coronavirus with her new healthy habits website, Boutros Bear
Receiving a devastating diagnosis of breast cancer in 2017, Sheila Kissane-Marshall faced a long and arduous fight against the devastating disease. Six rounds of gruelling chemotherapy, a mastectomy and targeted therapy, which left her so battered and bruised some days she could hardly swallow let alone speak or eat. However, throughout the treatment, she continued to harness the power of positivity every day, finding things to be grateful for, as well as maintaining good nutrition, gentle exercise and mindfulness. The mum of two, who lives in Cambridge, credits this combination of life-enhancing practices with aiding her recovery - and subsequently established Bosom Buddies, an uplifting website offering lifestyle support and rehabilitation advice for cancer sufferers.
When Covid-19 hit, Sheila decided to create a rehabilitation company - Boutros Bear – offering a 12-week healthy habits programme, to help people to build resilience to Coronavirus.
“I learnt the hard way, through my cancer, how powerful exercise, nutrition, and mindfulness can be in overcoming illness,” Sheila says. “I want to share that understanding with others, to help them, and us, as a society, to beat Coronavirus.”
Sheila has gathered advice from experts across the globe, so renowned American exercise instructor, Amy Kiser Schemper, from BodyFit by Amy, based in Los Angeles, provides the fitness element, through a series of instructional videos. Experts from around Europe are helping with the nutritional advice, whilst the mind health offering is being provided by digital therapeutics experts Prosoma.
The 12-week course is designed for all abilities, from those people who have little experience of thinking about diet, mental wellbeing and exercise, to those that are highly motivated to work out regularly. “Doctors agree that fitness, nutrition, and wellbeing play powerful roles in stopping people becoming ill, and in helping them recover if they are unfortunate enough to catch a disease like Coronavirus,” Sheila explains. “It’s no exaggeration to say that spending just a few minutes a day using the programme could be a lifesaver.”
Those that access Boutros Bear will be asked to fill out a survey to assess their level of fitness and mental wellbeing. They will then be provided with options for online classes, ranging from chair-
“Getting out for a walk for a while is great,” Sheila says. “But this healthy habits course is designed to build on that and give people a much better chance of avoiding Coronavirus. The programme also helps relieve anxiety about the disease, which is a big problem for many. It means you’re taking concrete steps to deal with it, and that always feels good.”
Sheila came up with the distinctive name for the rehabilitation company because Boutros means Rock and Bear, alluding to strength and courage, which is what she believes the course will foster throughout this ongoing period of uncertainty.
“As the world faces this health crisis, our Bear will be with you to inspire you to live well by trying new foods, being physically active, and getting out to reconnect with nature, where and when you can,” she enthuses.
* You can find out and sign up to the free course, visit boutrosbear.com
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More by this authorLouise Cummings