Get Back to Living The Pink Ribbon Program

“Cancer in general is horrible. But something about breast cancer that becomes more personal for a women. It involves one of the things that defines a women.”

Empowering Breast Cancer Survivors through Fitness

By Lealah Afif

The Pink Ribbon Program is the first post-operative therapeutic exercise program for Breast Cancer survivors. Doreen Puglisi, a former college professor with a Master’s Degree in Exercise
Science, created the program to aid in her clients’ recovery after mastectomies, lymph node dissections and reconstructive surgeries. Little did she know, the impact the very training protocol she created, would have on her own recovery, years later.

Clients recovering from Breast Cancer related surgeries would come to train with Puglisi in her Denville, New Jersey wellness studio, without a plan for physical therapy or rehabilitation. “There is no medical standard for rehabilitation for breast cancer recovery. None.” Puglisi explains, “Let me give you an example. If a patient had knee, hip or shoulder surgery, they always get physical therapy. Always. That’s a standard protocol. With breast cancer, there is no standard protocol.”

Where most would see a roadblock, Puglisi saw an opportunity. Determined to create the first therapeutic exercise program for Breast Cancer survivors, she based her protocol around strengthening and improving mobility in the shoulder, back and chest. Puglisi then combined her strengthening focus with Pilates based movements and in 2002, The Pink Ribbon Program was born.

In 2004, shortly after creating The Pink Ribbon Program, Puglisi was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. She underwent a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. The Pink Ribbon Program was integral in rebuilding her strength and confidence, throughout her rehabilitation.

In 2005, Puglisi developed a certification designed to train physical therapists, occupational therapists, oncology nurses and fitness professionals, on The Pink Ribbon model. To date, there are more than 1,000 healthcare and fitness professionals certified in The Pink Ribbon Therapeutic Exercise Program with thousands more women helped, worldwide.

For more information on The Pink Ribbon Program or to get certified, please visit: