Yoga as therapy for cancer patients, survivors, caregivers and families

Jen Morris yoga photo

Plymouth resident and certified yoga instructor, Jen Morris, is bringing together cancer survivors, cancer patients, their families and their caregivers each week for a yoga class that Jen describes as adapted to meet the needs of the participants in class whether they are experienced or new to yoga. “For cancer survivors, it is a class that is safe, comforting, and a way to embrace your new normal,” states Jen.

Jen understands what it means to create a “new” normal. In 2013, she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer.  “Before my diagnosis, I was an avid exercise enthusiast,” she says. “I ran. I taught boot camp classes. I skied.  I have always been active.”  But after receiving her diagnosis, Jen’s focus was on treating cancer and exercise became more difficult because of the side effects from her treatment.

It was in the middle of her treatment plan that Jen was invited to a yoga class by a friend.  Jen had taught yoga in the past but wasn’t sure she had enough energy to make it through the class. “I was so self-conscious,” she remembers.  “I had no hair, and, of course, my hat fell off in the middle of my first downward dog pose.”  When the class ended, Jen realized that she had received a good workout, felt relaxed and was much more centered.

Jen, now cancer-free, wants to share the positive health benefits of yoga with others who are experiencing cancer. On March 5th, Jen offered her first yoga class. There is no fee – participants are asked to make a donation, which will be given to Speare Memorial Hospital’s Oncology clinic.

“Part of my treatment included an injection of the drug Neulasta, which needed to happen within 24 hours of each chemotherapy infusion,” says Jen. “It was awesome that I could get the injection at Speare’s Oncology clinic. I came in, received my shot, and I was back home in no time.”

Jen also shares her gratitude for the support of her family and of the community. “Now it’s my turn to help others going through cancer,” Jen says.

For more information, contact Jen Morris, Wild Heart Yoga, or Speare Memorial Hospital’s Oncology program at 603-238-6470.

Classes are Monday’s from 5:30pm – 6:30pm at Yoga Studio 8, 612 Tenney Mountain Highway, Plymouth New Hampshire.




March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Wear Blue Day 2018 (36)National Dress in Blue Day is celebrated each year on the first Friday of March. The Colon Cancer Alliance first launched the National Dress in Blue Day program in 2009 to bring national attention to colon cancer and to celebrate the courage of those affected by this disease.

Several members of Speare’s staff participated in National Dress in Blue Day (scroll down to see the photos) by wearing blue to help raise public awareness and educate people on the facts about colon cancer and how they can reduce their risk of the disease.

The Number One way you can reduce your risk of colon cancer: SCREENING

Despite its high incidence, colon cancer is unique in that it is one of the most preventable and, if found early, most treatable forms of cancer. And the best part is, screening is easy! Talk to your doctor about getting checked. Make your appointment for a colonoscopy at Plymouth General Surgery today. Call 603-536-5670 and take advantage of the peace of mind that comes with knowing you have received the most advanced colon cancer and colon polyp screening available in the state of New Hampshire with FUSE, a groundbreaking technology that allows our surgeons to see twice as much of the colon as they could before.


Research has shown people with certain risk factors are more likely than others to develop colorectal cancer. Although no one knows the exact cause of colorectal cancer, we do know this disease is not contagious.

Pay particular attention to these factors that may increase your risk:

Age over 50:

Colorectal cancer becomes more common as people get older. In fact, more than 90% of people with this disease are diagnosed after age 50. The average age at diagnosis is 72.

Family history of polyps:

If you or a family member has a history of polyps, you should be screened more frequently as this puts you at a higher risk for colorectal cancer.


Family history of colorectal cancer:

First degree relatives (parents, brothers, sisters or children) of a person with a history of colorectal cancer are more likely to develop this disease, especially if the relative was diagnosed at a young age. If many close relatives have a history of colorectal cancer, the risk is even greater.

Genetic alterations:

Changes in certain genes increase the risk of colorectal cancer.

Hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer (HNPCC):

also called Lynch Syndrome, this is the most common type of inherited colon cancer. It accounts for about two percent of all colon cancer cases. It is caused by changes in an HNPCC gene. Most people with an altered HNPCC gene will develop colon cancer, and the average age at diagnosis is 44.

Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP):

Is a rare, inherited condition in which hundreds of polyps form in the colon and rectum. It is caused by a change in a specific gene called APC. Unless FAP is treated, it usually leads to colon cancer by age 40. FAP accounts for less than one percent of all colon cancer cases.

Family members of people who have HNPCC or FAP can have genetic testing to check for specific genetic changes. For those who have changes in their genes, health care providers may suggest ways to try to reduce the risk of colon cancer or to improve the detection of this disease. For adults with FAP, your doctor may recommend an operation to remove all or part of the colon and rectum.

Ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease:

If you have a condition that causes inflammation of the colon (such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease), you may be at increased risk of developing colorectal cancer.

Personal history of cancer:

If you have already had colorectal cancer, you may be at increased risk for developing the disease a second time. Also, women with a history of ovarian, breast or uterine cancer are at a somewhat higher risk of developing colorectal cancer.

Diet and Lifestyle:

Studies suggest that diets high in red meat and fat (especially animal fat) and low in calcium, folate, and fiber may increase risk of colorectal cancer. Also, some studies suggest people who eat a diet very low in fruits and vegetables may have a higher risk of colon cancer. However, results from diet studies do not always agree, and more research is needed to better understand how diet affects the risk of colorectal cancer.

Inactivity and obesity have also been linked to higher risk of colorectal cancer. Studies have shown that daily physical activity can decrease colorectal cancer risk by as much as 50 percent.

Cigarette smoking:

A person who smokes cigarettes may be at increased risk of developing polyps and colorectal cancer.

Because people who have colorectal cancer are at an increased risk of developing the disease again, it is important to have regular checkups. It is also important to talk to your family about their increased risk and screening.


RehabFit’s Member of the Month for February – Linda Allen

February rehabfit Member of the month Linda AllenLinda has been a member of RehabFit since October 2017! Linda has worked hard in the balance improvement class and is dedicated to exercising at RehabFit three days per week. She has made great strides in overall strength and balance!

  • Why did you decide to join RehabFit?
    • I joined RehabFit when it was recommended to me after finishing Physical Therapy. I had 2 knee operations on the same knee and needed to get back in shape.
  • What changes have you seen in your body or made in your lifestyle since you have joined?
    • I can do more things, like shopping and housework without help. I love to cook and now I can stand at the stove and oven and make great meals.
  • What motivates you to keep coming to RehabFit?
    • I made a commitment to myself to do the best I can to improve my knee and get stronger. By coming to RehabFit, I feel so much better about myself and my health.
  • Have you had any setbacks that affected your health and fitness progress while attending RehabFit? What were the setbacks and how did you proceed?
    • Over the holidays, I missed going to the gym but I started back up at the start of January. Now I come in for physical therapy, workout for an hour in the gym, and attend the Balance Improvement Class three times a week. It feels great to get back to my routine.
  • What kind of advice would you give to other RehabFit members?
    • Don’t give up. Do it for yourself, you’re worth it. Once you get into a routine it will come naturally and you won’t skip a workout or class. Good luck on your new get fit adventure!

Our RehabFit team includes registered physical and occupational therapists with advanced degrees and certificates with expertise in orthopedics, industrial medicine, occupational rehabilitation, hand therapy, health and safety and other specialty areas. Our therapists have clinical education in Active Release Technique (A.R.T.) – a manual therapy designed to treat overused muscles. Click here for more information or call (603) 238-2225

It’s Time to Sign Up for the 5th Annual Shamrock Shuffle

Speare Shamrock Shuffle 5K 2017 Finish Line (15) horz

Online Registration

Sign up to be a Sponsor

Printable Registration Form

2018 Route Map 

To celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day and start the spring season off on a healthy foot, the fifth annual Shamrock Shuffle is being held on Saturday, March 17, 2018.  The days are getting longer, the flowers will be poking their heads out of the ground soon and there’s no time like the present to get up, get out and get moving at Speare Memorial Hospital’s family-friendly, 5K health walk/fun run.

Put on your green and join us at the starting line at the Plymouth Regional High School. Registration/Check-In begins at 9:00 a.m. and the starting gun will go off at 10:00 a.m. The race will wind its way through the streets of Plymouth, NH.

The first 150 registered walkers and runners are guaranteed their requested shirt size and the first 300 finishers will receive a Speare Shamrock Shuffle medal. The event will take place no matter rain, sleet, snow or shine.

**Please Note** If you register in advance, you can check in and pick up your packets from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. in the Speare front lobby, on Friday, March 16th.

The event is not officially timed, as our focus is to encourage community members to take steps toward a more active lifestyle. Be sure to cheer on the participants as they pass by your home or business.

The registration fee is $10 per person. Children age 5 and under are free but everyone must be registered. Proceeds from the event will support Speare’s community outreach and health education programs.

Whether you are participating or cheering from the sidelines, it’s sure to be a fun morning full of Irish cheer in downtown Plymouth.

Click Here to Register Online through Eventbrite: 
(Please note, there is an additional small processing fee)

Click Here to Print a Registration Form

Printed forms may be returned in person to the hospital or mailed to:

Speare Memorial Hospital
Attn:  Kate Tarbox
16 Hospital Road
Plymouth, NH 03264


2018 route map shamrock shuffle

Sponsorship Opportunities

Click Here to view the Sponsorship Benefit Levels

Click Here for a Sponsorship Form


Like our pages and join the conversation during the event.  Take and share photos and/or video of this super fun day!


Contact: Amy Lyn Kench (603) 238-2329 Email:

Mary Durgin… From Charitable Support to Patient


“We are so fortunate to have Speare here,” says Mary Durgin. Her brother, George Durgin, felt the same. That’s why he included Speare among the charities he made provisions for in a charitable trust he established. Since his passing 16 years ago, Mary has distributed a check to Speare every year, which has helped the hospital purchase new technology and support many other endeavors.

After carrying out her brother’s wishes all these years, Mary recently became a patient — and that made a great impression on her.

Mary knew she had a hip problem for a few years. But she dealt with it, telling people she would have it looked at when she felt she should. That day came when she was renovating her lake house and tripped, falling hard. It hurt, but she had dinner to make. It still hurt when she lay down that night, but she was sure the pain would pass. When it still hurt the next day, she called her niece, Meredith, who is a nurse at Speare. Meredith wasted no time and brought Mary to the hospital where they discovered she had fractured her pelvis.

A fractured pelvis requires sitting and resting. By the time Mary healed, six weeks later, she was eager to regain her active lifestyle. She decided it was time she should get her hip fixed. She went to Plymouth Orthopedics & Sports Medicine and arranged for the surgery at Speare.

“I didn’t have a bit of fear when I walked into Speare for my surgery that morning,” says Mary.

Before the surgery, she asked Dr. Gennaro if he could make her legs the same length. After favoring one for so many years, one leg was over an inch shorter than the other.

“He said that he would try his best,” says Mary. “After the surgery, he said it took a bit longer, but he did it.

“Everything went so smoothly and I haven’t had a bit of pain,” says Mary. “Everybody was wonderful.”

She says her experience as a patient changed her.

“I want to yell from the rooftops about how incredibly wonderful my experience at Speare has been,” says Mary, as she returns from an afternoon cruise on Squam Lake in her pontoon boat.

Register For Our 8 – Week Golf Conditioning Program Offered by RehabFit

For all levels of recreational golfers!

golf shadow



Wednesdays & Fridays:   10 – 11 am

 (Starts Wednesday, March 7th thru Friday, April 27th)


103 Boulder Point Drive    

Community Room


RehabFit Members         $80

Non-Members                 $125       

Our Golf Conditioning Program includes:

  • Flexibility & Mobility Training
  • Core Strengthening
  • Large Muscle Group Training
  • Whole Body Movements
  • Speed & Power Training

Visit RehabFit or call 238-2225 for more information and to sign up for the class.

National Wear Red Day® – Friday, February 2, 2018

National Wear Red Day 2018 at Speare Memorial Hospital (18)Go Red For Women is a movement that starts with you. Lead by example and make the time to “Know Your Numbers.” It’s knowledge that could save your life.

Five numbers, that all women should know to take control of their heart health are:

  1. Total Cholesterol
  2. HDL (good) Cholesterol
  3. Blood Pressure
  4. Blood Sugar
  5. Body Mass Index (BMI).


Knowing these numbers can help women and their healthcare provider determine their risk for developing cardiovascular diseases. It’s time for all women to learn the most critical numbers in their life — their hearts depend on it.

Chances are we all know someone affected by heart disease and stroke, because about 2200 Americans die of cardiovascular disease each day. That’s an average of one death every forty seconds. But together we can change that. Cardiovascular diseases, which includes stroke, claim the lives of about one woman every 80 seconds unnecessarily — because about 80 percent of cardiovascular diseases may be preventable with education and action.

On Friday, February 2, 2018 many employees at Speare Memorial Hospital took part in National Wear Red Day® which provides an opportunity for everyone to unite to raise awareness about the fact that heart disease and stroke kill more women than all cancers combined.


There’s A Superhero Inside All of Us…We Just Need The Courage to Put On The Cape

by Lee Webster, Speare donor

Lee Webster Mammo Capes sitting

I’m 5’ 2”. Every time I have gone for a mammogram, I’ve managed to trip over the long gowns. I’ve usually ended up tossing it onto a chair in frustration, as it did nothing to preserve modesty and was aggravating to boot. During my last mammo, the fabulous tech helping me mentioned that there were special capes available. When I considered the number of women who avoid mammograms due to the embarrassment of the process and who were probably as annoyed by the silliness of the gown as me, it was at the top of my to-do list.

I’m known for advocating for affordable, environmentally friendly end-of-life processes and products, such as home funerals and green burials, and it had never made sense to me to have all those long gowns sent to the laundry, washed, dried, folded and sent back after acting as a modesty sheet for all of 5 minutes. A cape still needs to be laundered, but it may take less time drying. Every little bit helps

But the big reason I wanted to support this was my grandchildren. I have my annual mammogram to ensure my own health, but the bottom line is that I want to be here for them. I have seven grandkids, three girls in California, and four boys under the age of four in Holderness. They need a Super Grandmother

These capes are just as empowering for women as the costume capes are to the boys. Incidentally, they recently wore their Teenage Ninja Turtles capes, plus masks, to visit their new brother born in Speare’s Birthing Center, to the delight of everyone they met on the way. Capes are powerful!

My husband, Bill Crangle, and I are equally delighted to support the purchase of these “super” capes so that other grandmothers and mothers and daughters can experience the test in comfort, feeling safe and cared for, modesty intact.

PRHS Operation Teddy Bear brings smiles to Speare

Teddy Bear Donation 2018 from Plymouth Regional High School
(L-R) Zack Ross, Holly Mason, Elsa Lauriat, and Kiki Dodge

2018 marks the third year the Plymouth Regional High School class of 2019 hosted the school’s annual ‘Operation Teddy Bear’ fundraiser. As a community service project, junior class officers sold colorful teddy bear cut-outs for one dollar each during school and special events. Students, teachers, and staff wrote names on the bears and they were all displayed on a bulletin board to recognize everyone’s contributions.

They purchase stuffed bears with the monies raised and donated them to Speare Memorial Hospital to be given to young patients throughout the year. PRHS Junior Class Officers, Zack Ross (president), Holly Mason, (vice president), Elsa Lauriat (secretary), and Kiki Dodge (treasurer) along with their class adviser, Ms. Denise McGlone, delivered the teddy bears to Speare.

Speare Volunteers Share Their Talents, Time and Compassion

by Chris Fenn, Student & Volunteer Services Coordinator

Volunteer Scholarship committee Pictured from L R Chris Fenn, Student and Volunteer Services Coordinator with volunteers Lee Fortier, Pat Corbin, Nancy Kolb, Mary Ann Adams, and Judy Raybeck
L-R: Chris Fenn, Student and Volunteer Services Coordinator with volunteers Lee Fortier, Pat Corbin, Nancy Kolb, Mary Ann Adams, and Judy Raybeck. One of the many things our volunteers do to improve the patient experience is delivering fresh flowers to patient’s rooms.

When a long-time volunteer recently found himself requiring medical services, he was encouraged to hear the ED provider refer to him as “one of our own.” Our volunteers understand what it is like to be part of the team at Speare Memorial Hospital. Though our healthcare providers treat all patients with the same respect, integrity, and care, there is a special relationship among individuals that work side by side with the same mission, vision and values on a day to day basis. Many volunteers utilize the health services of Speare Memorial Hospital and take pride in the team that they are part of and the care that they and their family members receive.

Our volunteers have dedicated many hours this past year as part of a team that aims to provide excellent healthcare for our community. When a volunteer has also been a patient, they have an enhanced sense of caring and understanding toward an individual that walks through the hospital doors. Being a patient and family-centered facility, we aim to reach out to not only the patient, but to those who are here to support that patient. Volunteers are eager to share their talents, time and compassion. A patient recently wrote to thank a volunteer who had been extremely attentive not only in observing the patient’s needs but meeting those needs….that is what Speare volunteers do!

Our regular volunteers have donated over 5000 hours this year in the following hospital departments: Health Information Management, M&S, Reception Desk, Oncology, Prescription Assistance, Pharmacy, Environmental Services, Business Office, Accounting Office, Spiritual Needs, and various offices. In addition, we have had volunteers for special hospital events (Golf Tournament, Shamrock Shuffle, Town-Wide Yard Sale), Family Advisory Council, and the Outreach and Scholarship Committee. Many of our own Speare employees volunteer not only at Speare, but also within the community. It is a great joy to be able to give back to your community by volunteering.

VOLUNTEERS MaryAnn Adams, Joan Bergstrom, Ann Blair, Irene Blake, Ann Burghardt, Ethel Cahoon, Pat Corbin, Irene Deutsch, Virginia Dunn, Richard Flanagan, Lee Fortier, Lilly Friedman, John Gray, Joyce Jardin, Barbara Jenkinson, Deborah Kaplan, Glory Kidger, Nancy Kolb, Carol Mabin, Sathesh Mani, Annie Martin, Carolyn Piantedosi, Joan Poitras, Mariah Price, Judith Raybeck, Alaina Sarvak, Patti Sebilian, Shelly Shamberger, Elaine Shaunessy, Judy Siegel, Jeff Smith, Stephanie Sywenkyj, William Taffe, Ann Thibodeau, Larry Tingley, Ryan Toomey, Kim and “Seven” Turgeon, Bethany Ward, Ed Weber

CLERGY Rev. Dan Bowers Rev. MaryFrancis Drake Deacon Mike Guy Rev. Leo LeBlanc Rev. Eileen Torrey

FAMILY ADVISORY COUNCIL Nate Fuller, Sandra Lehner, Carol Mabin, Carolyn Piantedosi, Darlene Riess, Darlene Toomey

EMPLOYEE VOLUNTEERS FOR EVENTS Marilyn Barbetta, Dina Brodis, Cheryl Callnan, Donna Champagne-Patten, Tom Costigan, Deep Davis, Christine Fenn, Janette Gaumer, Tiffany Hodges, Amy Lyn Kench, Glory Kidger, Ashley Kuplin, Christine Lamontagne, Jennifer Oldenburg, Dak Overbagh, Schannon Sargent Mari,e Stonis Diane Valente, Jerica Vallie, Kathryn VanDeMoer, Karen Young

COMMUNITY VOLUNTEERS FOR EVENTS Barbara Johnson, Heidi Johnson, Eleanore Miller, John Piantedosi, Christine St. Laurent, Students from PRHS

Become a Speare Volunteer

Click Here to Download the Application to Volunteer

Every layer within a hospital contributes to its success and we invite you to become part of our team. Use your time, passion and willingness to help make a difference at a hospital/organization that supports its community. You don’t need any special skills to talk to a patient or assist a department. You can volunteer as much or as little as your schedule allows. We’ll find a volunteer position that fits your interests and your schedule.

For more information contact Christine Fenn, Student and Volunteer Services Coordinator (603) 238-6460 or email