Yariv Kafri knows he’s lucky. Maybe an odd statement from a 49-year-old father battling Stage 4 Lung Cancer, but lucky he is. The accomplished athlete was a member of the Israeli National Volleyball team, has competed in 30+ Olympic and Ironman distance triathlons, and is an avid yogi, surfer, skier and soccer player. If it wasn’t for that active lifestyle his cancer might have been caught later on and it’s that same active lifestyle that’s helping him and now others heal.
It was a surfing accident that took him to the hospital 16 months ago and the resulting tests that showed he had tumor from lung cancer.
“I was very lucky, I could’ve had a seizure any day,” Kafri said.
After a round of treatment and surgery, Kafri is recovering and at the heart of his recovery is exercise.
“10 days after the surgery I was cycling,” Kafri said. Recovering from the chemotherapy was a bit harder.
“I went to play soccer and I could barely stand but at least I was there,” Kafri recalled.
As his recovery continued Kafri began to look for ways to help his own kids deal with what happened to him as well as other cancer patients and their families. The result is the nonprofit, Supportersize, that through regular events brings together people affected by cancer.
“You don’t want to be defined as a sick person,” Kafri said. “You think about it all the time, but the nice thing about exercise is your mind can get away from the cancer.”
Through Supportersize, Kafri created a club that gives people motivation during recovery and also a non-traditional type of support session. In the past year members have done yoga in the park, standup paddleboarding on the Sound and hiked various locals trails. Their next event is coming up in February at the Equinox in Woodbury. All of the activities are free for those with cancer.
Kristen James, the creator of CYCLEology will lead Supportersize members and anyone else that wants to take part in a cycling class the Equinox Club on the morning for Feb 28.
“It’s not competitive, we get together and it creates an environment where you can chat with others,” Kafri said.
Kafri would love to see similar kinds of clubs around the country, which he said are easy to create and run, as a way to help people heal through exercise.
For more information on Supportersize and their Indoor Cycling and Social event visit: http://bit.ly/1Lfb0RB