Our mission

Sunflower Wellness empowers people living with cancer to find strength and support through exercise.

We bridge the gap between medical treatment and physical activity by working with oncologists to bring exercise directly to patients. We are committed to using the latest cancer and fitness research to set standards in our field.

Our programs promote healing and a sense of well-being, while helping our clients gain control through their recovery process. Sunflower Wellness understands every person is different and offers custom-tailored programs to meet their needs, infusing a unique warmth into all our work.

Our history

Sunflower Wellness was established in October 2004 in direct response to the need for promoting and providing exercise among people living with cancer. Receiving a cancer diagnosis is typically catastrophic. Although research supports the positive effects of exercise during and post treatment, patients and medical professionals typically lack the expertise for creating an effective and sustainable exercise program. This is where the Sunflower Wellness exercise programs come in.

Our Inspiration

Like most great stories of invention, it was a matter of identifying a need and filling it. Christopher Goad, ACSM, ACE, was an accomplished certified personal trainer who wrote a cancer and exercise manual in 2002 after having undergone chemotherapy himself. He was involved in several research studies at the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute in Washington, DC, where he was deeply affected by what he learned from the researchers and in particular, his fellow patients. His experiences motivated him to apply his training background to develop a project to expand the availability of personal training and exercise coaching for those suffering from cancer and the often overwhelming side effects of its treatments. At that time, the full benefits of exercise for people living with cancer were only beginning to be discovered.

With the sponsorship of the fitness center where he worked, the San Francisco Bay Club (and its parent company, Western Athletic Clubs), in 2003 Chris worked with Regan Fedric, a fellow certified trainer, and Garrett Smith, MD, an oncologist at UC San Francisco Medical Center, to establish the IMPACT program. IMPACT (Integrating Medical Professionals and Certified Trainers) grew to help over 200 people living with cancer to receive exercise training in San Francisco and Marin County during its successful 5-year run. A philanthropically funded program, IMPACT’s success and growing reputation inspires and informs Sunflower Wellness today.

In 2002, when given the opportunity at a spiritual site to declare his intentions, literally to make a wish that mattered to his core, he said aloud that he wanted "to help as many people as possible living with cancer to get exercise." Chris finished writing the first full draft of his cancer and exercise manual in late March 2004, about three weeks before he died during another grueling round of chemotherapy. He was 35 years old. His dedication to completing the manuscript was his primary focus during the few “good days” he experienced between weekly chemotherapy treatments.

Although greatly missed, Chris’ friends, family, clients and colleagues honored his efforts and vision by founding Sunflower Wellness, a San Francisco-based non profit dedicated to bringing exercise program design and instruction to people living with cancer. From Chris’ initial idea of writing an exercise manual, the seeds were planted and now any one of hundreds of Sunflower clients might work with a trainer or participate in a yoga class in the same week—feeling better than when they came in the door. His wish has become our mission.

©2005-2020Sunflower Wellness Our thanks for Logo design: William Salit Design Sunflower Wellness is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation based in San Francisco, CA
Sunflower Wellness will be forever grateful to Kimberly Powell for designing our website, and for additional design direction from Jason Herrick and Cecelia Ottenweller.