The 2017 Press On: Moving Lives Through Cancer fundraising and outreach event is made possible thanks to the collective support of more than a dozen independent physical therapy clinics in Central Oregon — one of the nation’s most competitive private practice physical therapy markets.

And because so many of the competing practices are willing to band together for a common cause, more people with cancer in the High Desert who have limited financial resources will be able to thrive through better access to rehabilitation and movement-based services.

In our third year, Press On is a free, public, family friendly fundraising event scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 23, 3 to 7 p.m. at Atlas Cider Company (550 SW Industrial Way) in Bend. The event will feature live music, food, drink, and a 5K fun run/walk to benefit local cancer survivorship programs facilitated through Tour des Chutes.

Including the projects from this year’s event, Press On will have raised nearly $40,000 for such programs since 2015.

“Press On is a unique opportunity for Central Oregon physical therapists to come together to raise support within the community for cancer survivors,” said Laura Cooper, a physical therapist with Therapeutic Associates in Bend who specializes in post-mastectomy and breast cancer rehabilitation. Therapeutic Associates Physical Therapy is one of our 2017 sponsors. “Having practiced in Bend for the past 20 years, Press On is the first event of its kind that brings us together in collaboration in a fun engaging way with our local community.”

Meredith Wampler-Kuhn, a Bend-based physical therapist who specializes in oncology rehabilitation, is one of our Press On founders. She, along with fellow physical therapist Tannus Quatre and local marketer Ben Montgomery, held the first event in 2015 with a goal of educating and engaging the community about the critical role exercise and physical therapy play in the lives of those with cancer.

“Multiple medical studies support this idea,” she said. “Along with helping cancer patients maintain strength, decrease fatigue, minimize pain and maximize function and mobility, physical therapists play a critical role in identifying possible complications during and after treatment.”

That’s not all, points out Burke Selbst, a physical therapist and founder of Focus Physical Therapy in Bend — also a sponsor of this year’s event.

“Physical therapists are uniquely qualified to bridge the gap for patients and survivors between the medical world and their world – how they feel, what they can do, how they live their lives, and helping them set and meet tangible goals to make their quality of life better,” he said.

Such roles are critical as cancer survivors strive to recover from the physical and mental effects of the disease, with the goal of achieving a level of normalcy similar to what that experienced prior to diagnosis. This is why Tour des Chutes is working with us at Press On to develop a program that helps provide better rehabilitation access to those in financial need.

“Being able to bring physical therapists and practice owners together from competing clinics to support this cause is a wonderful accomplishment and one we don’t take lightly,” Tannus said. “Together, with the help of Tour des Chutes, we can make it possible for more people to access oncology rehabilitation care as well as exercise and movement-based services.”

Local physical therapy and health-based clinics and organizations supporting Press On this year include Therapeutic Associates Physical Therapy, Focus Physical Therapy, Step & Spine Physical Therapy, St. Charles Rehabilitation Center, High Lakes Health Care, Alpine Physical Therapy, Therapy Works Physical Therapy, Rebound Physical Therapy, Apex Physical Therapy, Hands On Physical Therapy, Healing Bridge Physical Therapy, Living Well Physical Therapy, Peak Performance Physical Therapy, Redbird Physio, Southside Physical Therapy, and radiation oncologists Russ Omizo and Linyee Chang.