Miriam, aged 72, has joined Chester Centre, part of the Stretford Sports Village, with a graduate membership after completing both a three-month cancer and a two-month active referral programme.

In January 2017 Miriam noticed that her stomach was swollen and that she was suffering with upset stomachs. She went to her GP who referred her to Trafford General. It was here that they diagnosed her as having colon cancer. The following month, Miriam underwent surgery at Manchester Royal Infirmary, where a four-hour procedure removed half of her colon. This was followed by six months of chemotherapy.

Miriam says: “I was given the all clear in September 2017 and I was naturally delighted. But my overall health had taken a beating. I’d always been quite fit in the past, enjoying walks with my husband, but after my treatment I couldn’t walk for more than five minutes without feeling exhausted and out of breath. I had to start using an inhaler and I had put on three stone in weight. I just didn’t recognise myself. The cancer had gone, but I felt worse than ever.”

The MacMillan Centre in Manchester initially referred Miriam to Trafford Leisure. James Jackson, Active Living Manager says: “I first received Miriam’s referral in the Autumn of last year, but at that time she didn’t feel ready for the challenge and it’s not my place to force her. However, by January she was keen for a fresh start and came to Chester Centre for her induction. I’ve really enjoyed working with Miriam. We have had a real giggle together whilst designing a unique and personal fitness programme for her.”

He continues: “I wanted to increase Miriam’s general health and her exercise plan focused on her strength, movement and cardio. Our main objective at the time was to stop her from being so out of breath. Miriam now uses much of the gym equipment, including the treadmill and bikes, plus she has recently started simple circuit classes and swimming. I’m really impressed, she’s worked so hard.”

Miriam goes on to say: “I had never stepped foot inside a gym before, I’d never fancied it and I assumed it wasn’t for people ‘like me’. But I love it here. Everyone is so friendly and welcoming. I’ve met lots of like-minded people and often use the centre’s café to enjoy a nice cup of coffee and have a chat with new friends. The entire experience has been beneficial and I feel so positive for my future. I’m feeling stronger, I’m sleeping better, I’ve toned up and I’m much less out of breath going up the stairs.”

James Jackson says: “Exercise and improved fitness pre surgery makes the medical procedure less risky and physical activity after surgery will speed up post-operative recovery. You have to prepare in advance for your own recovery. This pre and post-operative training saves lives, saves NHS beds and gets people back to work and back to an active life quicker.”

Trafford Leisure are currently running a summer promotion, so whether you are looking to lose weight, tone up or improve your general fitness you can buy an annual membership and get 12 months for the price of 10. The annual membership gives you access to all six of its leisure centres. In addition you will automatically be entered into a prize draw to win £1000 worth of Thomas Cook Holiday vouchers.