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Program Director, Instructor
Triumph Cancer Foundation

In the summer of 2019, I accepted my current position as Program Director for Triumph Cancer Foundation in Sacramento, California. Prior to that I had worked as an instructor for the Triumph Fitness program for three years and volunteered for or participated in many events to help raise awareness for the foundation. Aside from being able to put my Kinesiology background to quite possibly the best use I could have found for it, Triumph also offered programs centered on outdoor activities and wellness, which is what had drawn my wife and I to California in the first place. Triumph’s mission and the community services they offered were so well-matched with my evolving philosophies on exercise and overall health and happiness and working for the foundation afforded opportunities to connect with my career on a deeper level than I had in the past. The local foundation was made up of eight volunteer board members charged with building community relationships and fundraising who were overseen by the Founder/Executive Director; an administrative team including myself, a Development and Community Engagement Director, an Intake and Data Specialist, and a private contractor who developed online marketing and media; a small team of six to eight instructors whom I directly oversaw; and a participant roster of roughly 150 to 175 new survivors per year.

As the Program Director, my first task was to document the process that Triumph had been fine-tuning over a fifteen-year period. Covertly complex, the Triumph Fitness program is a trimester basis, 12-week, 90-minute, twice per week exercise education experience that was being offered in partnering gym facilities at the time. Groups consist of a maximum of eight participants, two instructors, and a class mentor—a previous participant who has recently graduated. The program accepts adults of all ages who have recently finished treatments for cancer diagnoses of all types at no cost to the survivors. I authored a program training manual for incoming new hires which evolved into a valuable resource for employees, administrators, and participants alike.

The manual branched into many side projects, primarily multi-media and online resource platforms, as the SARS-COV-2 pandemic hit when the foundation was forced to go remote with the fitness program and develop an online format (within six months of accepting the Director position). Collaborating with the administration, our team of instructors, and current participants we barely missed a beat with the transition. Within two weeks of California and the city of Sacramento implementing the COVID mitigation policies, we adapted and were back with our survivors helping them continue their pursuit of health and fitness from the safety of their own homes. The online format turned into the new normal for Triumph Fitness over the next two years as the pandemic, regulations, social tensions, and uncertainty continued. We became even more of a lifeline for survivors, who often describe the cancer journey as “isolating”, going through their recovery in a new era of mandated quarantine and isolation.  

In reality, the push to go online was a blessing in disguise for the growth of the fitness program in many ways. Our team remained optimistic and presented ideas for how this could help the foundation in a number of board meetings during that time. Considering the vulnerable state of immunity that many cancer survivors come out of treatment with and the infamous state of sanitation (or lack thereof) of the gym industry, exercising from home made a lot of sense for many of those interested in the program. Additionally, it had been obvious since my first trimester with Triumph that the aura of the general fitness environment wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and this online option also opened the door for those who weren’t comfortable in that setting. We built a cheap and incredibly convenient “On-the-Go” kit that the foundation would provide to the survivors and a well-versed exercise program that could be led and completed effectively where ever you can find the internet. Though we initially saw inquiries and enrollment drop due to a combination of the pandemics effects on things, we were back to pre-COVID numbers and opening new classes by the time regulations had settled and new-variant cases began to drop. We came out of the crisis ahead of the curve and better equipped to serve our community on a larger scale.

By very popular demand, we used the opportunity afforded by remote services to design an ongoing, fee-based program that allows graduates to continue their fitness classes with Triumph. We launched “Triumph 2.0” in 2021 under the board’s stipulation that it would need to generate the majority of the funds necessary to cover its own costs so that no funds had to be directed away from the flagship program. During these same transition years and in addition to my Instructor duties, as the Program Director I: assisted in hiring and training six new instructors; helped on-board three new data entry /intake specialists— the third of whom we moved laterally from an instructor into a dual role like my own; brought on a number of mentors and helped draw up a short informational checklist for reference to the expectations of their role; created other, new program manual contents to include much of the online processes along with the in-person program format; created new processes and avenues for collecting and distributing information throughout the foundation; helped implement a new communications time-line improving candidate engagement and increasing participant relationship longevity; assisted in marketing, promotion, and advertising conceptualization and content creation; created various multi-media projects for marketing and promotions as well as for the participants to use as resources; and I have attended many events raising funds and awareness for the foundation as a volunteer. We’re now meeting demands for both in-person and online classes and our enrollment is growing larger than ever. Triumph is set to continue their mission making a major impact on the lives of cancer survivors in the Sacramento community for years to come; now, with an open door to the entire World Wide Web. 


For more information about Triumph Cancer Foundation visit


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