From modest surroundings, wonderful visions worth boasting about are unfolding.

Anyone who has walked around the University of Montana campus has likely passed McGill Hall, a rather unassuming building next door to the Adams Center and near the southwest corner of Washington-Grizzly Stadium and Champions Center. But what is transpiring in the basement is at the heart of further hope for those battling cancer.

UM News Service tells us that the space is actually a research laboratory for students and faculty in UM’s School of Integrative Physiology and Athletic Training. For several years, the Cardiopulmonary and Cancer Rehabilitation Lab has been the home to undergrads studying physiology and athletic training, and the relationships between exercise and those with heart conditions and cancer diagnoses.

And in a monumental step forward, later this year, the lab is planning to open to real patients willing to allow the students to monitor their health.

Amanda Alfaro is a Master's Degree student at the school. She also assists in running the lab. She will begin her Ph.D at UM this fall. The College of Health's School of Physiology and Training's Chair is Professor John Quindry, whose vision was to “replicate a clinical facility on campus and have a real-world setting for our students to train in so they could go to a hospital or outpatient facility and see the same equipment."

Missoula Hospitals
Image courtesy of Getty Images, Ryan Brennecke

Ms. Alfaro meets each week with members of the Silver Lining Foundation, a group of about 40 breast cancer survivors who train year-round to compete in dragon boat and outrigger canoe races on Flathead Lake. They have been able to provide the group more training sessions as its numbers have grown.

Students training for careers in a clinical-type environment and making positive strides in cancer treatment is a win-win, and one more reason for us Griz to be proud of what is being accomplished at the university. More details on the Cancer Rehabilitation Lab can be found here.

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