There are millions of cancer research foundations worldwide, but it’s time you meet the foundation that’s doing things a bit different. AKTIV Against Cancer has made it their mission to support recent research that indicates physical activity reduces cancer progression and improves a patient’s response to cancer therapy.

They have donated over $17 million, opened 16 physical activity centers in cancer treatment hospitals throughout Norway ,and have pledged $3.3 million to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the largest private cancer center in the world, to fund exercise oncology research.

Impressive, right? We were lucky enough to chat with AKTIV Against Cancer co-founder, Helle Aanesen who is sharing all things AKTIV Against Cancer, including their upcoming “AKTIVday” event on April 11th where notable fitness studios across NYC donate 20% of their day’s proceeds to Memorial Sloan Kettering’s oncology exercise program. 

Helle, can you tell us a bit about your story and involvement with AKTIV Against Cancer?

Helle Aanesen (HA): As co-founder of AKTIV Against Cancer, I’m super enthusiastic that we have managed to establish AKTIVday in the U.S. AKTIVday is all about our mission; to motivate as many people as possible to be physically active while projecting our message on how important physical exercise is for cancer patients. I can’t wait to take part in our second AKTIVday (on April 11th) in as many studios as possible.

What are your overarching goals for AKTIV Against Cancer as a non-profit?

HA: Our overall mission is to have physical exercise included as part of standard cancer treatment!

How did AKTIVday come to fruition?

HA: It was a result of a lot of brainstorming focused on how society could learn from the different activities we do in Norway and the US. The first ever AKTIVday took place in Norway in 2017 as a celebration for our 10th anniversary.

In 2018, after such success, the U.S. entity embraced the idea and modelled it to fit Manhattan. Our goal was to bring together the strong, large, and passionate NYC fitness and wellness community in a way that high energized and fun while also supporting our mission.

What were highlights of the first annual 2018 AKTIVday in the U.S. that made it so successful and made a second annual AKTIVday possible?

HA: I think the unique factor is AKTIVday’s simplicity. We choose a day, we partner with incredible fitness studios in the city, and promote the day and the message. Everybody can participate just as they would in a normal fitness class, there is no extra fuzz. It’s also important to note that AKTIVday would not be possible without our amazing fitness studios partnerships. We are grateful for continued support from studio partners and their generosity in donating their days proceeds to an amazing cause.

Are there any notable sponsors or ambassadors supporting the second annual AKTIVday in NYC?

HA: Yes! We have an absolutely unbelievable cabinet of AKTIVday ambassadors who are going to be attending classes all throughout the city! Aly Teich from @sweatlife_nyc,  Emily Fayette from @thehealthyhustle, Scott Braun from @mlbnetwork, Dale & Elizabeth from @sweatsandthecity – and so, so many more! AKTIVday is the perfect chance for people to come work out with their favorite influencers, all for an amazing cause!

What are AKTIV Against Cancer’s future goals for AKTIVday?

HA: To expand and partner with as many studios across NYC as possible, eventually widening reach to expand out of Manhattan and across country.

To learn more about AKTIVday, visit: Follow along on Instagram @aktiv_usa and Facebook @aktivagainstcancer!

Photography: c/o AKTIVday, Stock Images