Rady Children's Hospital Patients Recover with Yoga - NBC 7 San Diego

Rady Children's Hospital Patients Recover with Yoga

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    Rady Children's Hospital Patients Recover with Yoga

    NBC 7's Dave Summers shares how cancer patients at Rady Children's Hospital are recovering with yoga taught by an instructor who's been in there shoes. (Published Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019)

    Some San Diego yoga instructors are volunteering their skills at Rady Children's Hospital and they say the young cancer patients are benefitting from it.

    Bone cancer took Fabian Aguayo's left leg. At 13, he's had to learn some hard lessons. 

    "You just have to push on through," Aguayo said.

    Jonathan Eppert, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, is on his second day of chemotherapy. He had a bad reaction to his first treatment.

    "You never would in a million years expect yourself to be in that place until you are in that place," Eppert said.

    As doctors and nurses work to control the growth and spread of cancer, who manages the side effects?

    Along with being a certified yoga instructor, Ping Cao is a cancer survivor, too. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016.

    She and five other volunteers for the Sean O'Shea Foundation teach child cancer patients to cope with treatment through yoga.

    "Her calm voice really helps doing the deep breathing. It is something different than I would normally be doing," Eppert said.

    "It just made me forget about all the stressful things. It made me think of my happy thoughts," Aguayo said.

    Cao went through chemo and surgery. She knows the pain, anxiety and stress first hand.

    "It helps for the nerves and for the muscle to keep going. It kinda slowly makes you relax, " Cao said.

    The positive, seems to be catching. Fabian wants to return to this floor someday to spread the good news of his recovery to other kids.

    "I just want tell them it's going to be ok and you got to think positive,” Aguayo said.

    Because of early diagnosis, Jonathan has an excellent chance of full recovery. He also has the strength of his faith.

    "Whatever happens, I know I will get through it," Eppert said.

    As for Cao, she is in remission. Daily she rolls from one hospital room to the next. Her therapy is giving back.

    "When you are done with yoga and before you walk out the room they are smiling. That makes me happy,” Cao Said.

    The Sean O'Shea Foundation was founded in 2011. It is dedicated to a yoga instructor who died in a car accident. Besides the kids, volunteers teach yoga techniques to educators in underserved communities so they might help students cope with their challenges.

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