Program of Support



“Get REAL & HEEL has been a lifeline to me. It is giving me the push and support I need to ‘get going’ again. The exercise is definitely increasing my flexibility, strength and stamina…Just being around such a positive program with so much enthusiasm has helped me feel better about myself, my healing process and my connection with others.”

— Mimi, Participant/Survivor


About the Program

Get REAL & HEEL is a unique program designed to serve cancer patients in North Carolina.  Get REAL & HEEL integrates individualized prescriptive exercise administered in small groups to provide a program that strengthens your body and mind.  We’ll develop an individualized plan that will help you manage cancer treatment related symptoms and help you increase your chances of survivorship while increasing your quality of life. Because of grant support we provide this incredible program to you free of charge.



Get REAL & HEEL will gladly accept any donation that you would like to make to our program. You can make a gift on our secure site. Follow these simple instructions when you fill out the online gift form:

1.     Click the “Donate” button below and fill out the web form


For GR&H After Hours Participants:

Please submit your donation check made out to “Get REAL & HEEL” between the 1st to the 10th of every month.

Checks can be dropped off to GR&H, or mailed to the address below:


Get REAL & HEEL c/o Kelly Hermanson
Campus Box 8615
3433 Country Club Drive Chapel Hill, NC  27599 



Why Exercise?

The acute and chronic side effects usually associated with the diagnosis and the administration of cancer treatments has increasingly gained attention in the oncology arena. The medical community has begun to recognize the importance of using complementary forms of therapy to alleviate some of the side-effects produced by cancer treatments. A debilitative state of fatigue is among the most common side-effects experienced by upwards of 72% of all cancer patients undergoing cancer treatment. Other prevalent side-effects include pain, loss of muscle mass, loss of strength, depression, nausea, and shortness of breath which alone or in combination decreases the functionality of patients, thus diminishing overall quality of life. While the trend in oncology is to address some of these symptoms with the administration of pharmacological treatments some of these strategies provide only temporary relief.

Complementary alternative therapies such as exercise have received attention for their ability to complement symptom management strategies currently used by oncology physicians. Research has shown that when administered prior, during, and post cancer treatment, exercise has assisted patients significantly decrease fatigue, improve strength and endurance, conserve muscle mass, improve metabolism, improve stress management, improve heart rate coherence and heart rate variability, and develop effective coping skills. In turn, individuals are likely to feel better physically and emotionally.

What are you waiting for?Be active in your fight against cancer. Talk to your physician and call us to see if the Get REAL & HEEL program is right for you!


Program Components

Participants in the Get REAL & HEEL program will be a part of an exercise therapy program 3 times per week for a period of 16 weeks.

The Exercise Program may include:

  • Cardiovascular activities on various types of aerobic exercise equipment
  • Weight training
  • Flexibility exercises (including specific exercises to regain surgical side shoulder range-of-motion)

The Psychosocial Therapy Program may include:

  • Pain and stress management
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Mindfulness training
  • Individual leisure education
  • Group activities such as ropes challenge course, expressive arts and group leisure education


Educational Workshops

In addition to providing services on the campus of UNC Chapel Hill, Get REAL & HEEL staff serves survivors through educational workshops offered in different areas of the state. The workshops teach cancer survivors how to use exercise to offset the negative side effects of cancer treatment and improve overall quality of life. The workshop participants are provided with education and skill instruction in safe exercise techniques.  Participants receive a comprehensive notebook of educational materials, a pedometer, and a Theraband for home based strength training. The workshops are offered free of charge and GRH’S attempt IS to fill gaps in service delivery by collaborating with agencies that specifically target underinsured and underserved survivors.