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The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) supports Yorkshire Cancer Research cancer exercise programme

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), an international grant-making foundation and supporter of innovative health initiatives, has committed £835,000 to support a pioneering cancer exercise programme led by Yorkshire Cancer Research.

Cancer rehabilitation specialist leading a strength training class with two patients

The partnership between the charity and SNF will support the expansion of a service which helps people prepare for and recover from cancer treatment for the next three years. SNF’s support for the programme is part of its Global Health Initiative (GHI), which aims to expand access to health services, strengthen quality of care for all, and empower providers on the front lines.

The fitness, nutrition, and wellbeing programme will be run from a new Yorkshire Cancer Research Centre, set to open in Harrogate this autumn.

The partnership will also fund a new training and research exchange programme designed to develop a new generation of experts who will drive forward worldwide understanding of exercise as a treatment for cancer. In collaboration with Greece-based non-profit Regeneration & Progress, this will involve researchers and practitioners from Greece coming to the UK and those in the UK travelling to Greece.

This is the largest single philanthropic gift Yorkshire Cancer Research has received in its 98-year history, which really demonstrates the contribution this important programme will make to worldwide research and innovation. This significant and extremely generous donation from SNF will make a huge difference to people with cancer in Yorkshire.

Chief Executive at Yorkshire Cancer Research

“By exploring the role of exercise in treating cancer, Yorkshire Cancer Research is helping open up new possibilities for care,” said SNF Co-President Andreas Dracopoulos. “SNF is grateful for this work and its human-centric approach of caring for the whole person.”

The new programme will build on the success of the existing Active Together service in South Yorkshire designed by Sheffield Hallam University’s Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC), funded by Yorkshire Cancer Research and provided in partnership with Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, which has so far helped nearly 400 people with cancer.

Evidence shows that exercise before, during, and after a cancer diagnosis can increase treatment options, while reducing side effects and complications and speeding up recovery from other treatments such as surgery and chemotherapy.

Exercise can also increase the likelihood of survival. It can reduce the risk of dying from cancer by up to 44% in those who are physically active compared to those who are inactive¹, and the risk of cancer coming back in the future could be reduced by up to 66%².

By 2025, it is anticipated that nearly 1,000 patients across Yorkshire will receive support through the charity’s expanded Active Together service.

Findings from this Yorkshire Cancer Research programme will also inform the future development of plans for more centres and services across the region, focusing on areas and communities with the greatest need.

Read more about the exercise programme

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1 Cormie et al (2017): The Impact of Exercise on Cancer Mortality, Recurrence, and Treatment-Related Adverse Effects - PubMed (

2 The effect of exercise on disease-free survival and overall survival in patients with breast cancer - PubMed (

Every 17 minutes someone is diagnosed with cancer in Yorkshire

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