Simmons Cancer Institute at SIU School of Medicine

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Side by Side Wellness Program

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Cancer Diagnosis? Fitness and nutrition classes designed for you

The Side by Side Wellness Program provides support in conjunction with other health-care providers in the treatment of people living with cancer and their families. Its primary focus is twofold:

  1. Addressing the emotional, social and physical responses of patients to cancer as they undergo treatment of the disease as well as those of their families and caregivers;
  2. Addressing those same concerns as they may influence the long-term survival following their treatment.

Many patients respond differently to the diagnosis of cancer depending on the individual's situation and support network. A therapist is available to provide counseling services, to act as a patient advocate, and help patients use their own resources to be a partner alongside their health care team during the treatment of the cancer. Social work helps the individual navigate the health care system and identifies resources to help the patient get optimal care. Nutritional counseling is available to offset treatment-related nutritional deficits and to train patients to use diet as a way to decrease risk of cancer recurrence or development of new cancers. For those who wish to include spiritual healing in their cancer treatment, pastoral care counselors are also available through the Side-by-Side program.

This program works side by side with patients, families, caregivers and health care providers to address all aspects of cancer that influence outcome with an understanding that people experience illness through their physical, emotional and spiritual reactions and that each one influences the other.

Side by Side Wellness Program Descriptions

Classes and programs are free to cancer patients regardless of where they are receiving treatment.  Simmons Cancer Institute is located at 315 West Carpenter Street, Springfield.

Call 217.545.0798 for more information.

Weekly Activities at SCI

Tai Chi

Gentle flowing movements are used to perform a series of postures coordinatedTai Chi
with breathing to achieve an inner sense of calm.

Mondays and Thursdays 11:45 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Qi Gong

Physical postures, breathing techniques, and mental focus are used to improve physical and emotional health. The positions can be done while seated and are good for individuals who are less mobile.

Tuesdays 11:45 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.


Learn postures, breathing exercises, and meditation.

Wednesdays 8:30 - 9:45 a.m.
Thursdays 4:45 - 6:00 p.m.

Adapted Yoga

This yoga class is ideal for the less mobile individual. It adapts many classic yoga postures to the seated position.

Wednesdays 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.


The practice of Reiki involves placing hands on the body to enhance well-being and promote relaxation. Reiki works with conventional medicine to improve healing and balance throughout your body.
Call 217.545.0798 for appointment.
By Appointment Tuesdays and Thursdays 10:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Fitness for You

Fitness for You is an exercise class to help maximize health for the long term. Exercise has been shown to improve mood, boost self-confidence and reduce fatigue. These classes are offered on Thursdays from 12:45 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.


Pilates emphasizes maintaining the natural spinal curves while strengthening the core muscles and teaching students proper stabilization and alignment of all joints. Students must be comfortable getting up and down from the floor.
Wednesdays 11:15 a.m. - -12:00 p.m.

Personal Trainer

Call 217.545.0798 for appointment.
By Appointment, Fridays 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Offered Periodically at SCI - Please call 217.545.0798

Look Good . . . Feel Better

Beauty techniques to combat the appearance related side effects of radiation and chemotherapy. This class is sponsored by the American Cancer Society.

Freedom From Smoking

Anyone can stop smoking. Staying quit is the difficult part. The FFS Program fromat encourages people to work on the process of quitting smoking, both as individuals and as a group.


Drumming has a therapeutic effect by reducing tension, anxiety and stress; controlling chronic pain; and boosting the immune system.

Support Groups

Experiencing emotional trials from the diagnosis of cancer is normal, but that doesn’t make it easy. Simmons Cancer Institute at SIU believes that support groups are an important part of cancer care. Support groups provide those diagnosed with cancer a place to learn information about their cancer; a place to share feelings, experiences and concerns with others who have the same cancer diagnosis; and a place which gives emotional and spiritual nourishment. Support Groups connect people facing similar challenges. Educational activities are offered as needed and groups are led by Psych-Oncology staff. Days, times, and frequencies of meetings vary.

SCI Support Groups take place at:
Side-by-Side Place of Wellness,
Simmons Cancer Institute at SIU.
3rd Floor, Room 3015
315 W. Carpenter Street.
Springfield, IL 62794
For more information call 217.545.0798

Our Current Support Groups:

Women Around You (WAY), a support group for female cancer patients of all ages. Meets at 5:30 pm on the fourth Wednesday of each month. For information contact Emily at (217) 545-5408.

Head and Neck Cancer Support Group, which meets on the 4th Friday of each month at 1:00. Contact Dana McDonald at 788-3300 for more information.

If you have a support group in your community that you would like us to share, please call 217.545.7493


View a list of other support groups that are offered in the Springfield area

Other Services

Electric Massage Chair. 15 minute massage by chair.

Treadmill and Elliptical

Peer-to-Peer Support. There are many matching programs available to those interested in speaking to someone who has had a similar cancer diagnosis. Call 217-545-0798.