'Kids Kicking Cancer,' literally, at London hospital
Published Thursday, June 13, 2013 2:31PM EDT Last Updated Thursday, June 13, 2013 5:56PM EDT
There's a new way for kids in London to fight cancer. It's not a drug, or any other kind of therapy that you might think of - it's martial arts.
London officially became the first children's hospital in Canada to offer a new program called ‘Kids Kicking Cancer’ on Thursday.
Sixteen-year-old Seth Coulter wears a mask to protect his immune system, which is weakened by aplastic anemia. He's used martial arts to control pain and says it works.
"It gave me a way to calm down myself. If I was in pain I'd use one of the breathing techniques to relax myself and the pain would go away."
The program was founded by Rabbi Elimelech Goldberg who lives in Detroit.
"We train the children…that they could breathe in this amazing karate power. They could pull in this chi - this light - bring it inside of themselves, push out the pain, the fear, the anger of their disease."
The program is providing a sense of empowerment, and more.
Dr. Shayna Zelcer, a pediatric oncologist at Children's Hospital, says "I think it's been shown that therapeutic breathing, that alternative methods of pain control such as martial arts, can be effective as an adjunct or as a primary way of conquering pain.”
Kids Kicking Cancer is in place in 19 other hospitals around the world including one in the Vatican. It's designed for kids of all ages, even those as young as three.
Also at Thursday morning's launch, NHLer Brandon Prust, who helped to raise funds for the new program.
"I've done some hospital visits and you always see the kids and you're hanging out with them. It's always been close to my heart," he says.
The program will be offered on both an inpatient and outpatient basis.