Photo: Erin and her friends participating in Fit Freaks For The Cure
According to cancer.org, breast cancer is the second leading cause of death among women in the world, with 1 in 8 American women being diagnosed in their lifetime.
Thankfully, because of more research, awareness, and better detection, a there are more than 3.3. million breast cancer survivors alive in the United States today. (Source: National Breast Cancer Foundation). How women—and some men—cope with breast cancer during and after their treatment contributes to this exceptional number. One way many women help themselves post-diagnosis is through exercise.
According to the American Cancer Society: “Getting regular exercise is important for breast cancer survivors’ continued health. Physical activity can help lessen certain side effects of treatment, such as fatigue and depression, and has been shown to reduce risk of recurrence and improve survival. The American Cancer Society, as well as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recommends cancer survivors get 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity, along with at least 2 strength training sessions, each week.”
During this month of recognition and awareness we connected with two of our FIT36 members who are breast cancer survivors (and fighters!). We’re proud of them, and the millions of other women and men who share their stories.
When life throws you a curveball…
For Erin, a member of the FIT36 LoDo family, her Stage 2 Breast Cancer diagnosis came at the age of 27. At the time of her diagnosis she was living her life to the fullest, snowboarding, waterskiing, dating, travelling and working on her career. When she received her diagnosis, she knew she had to step-back and refocus her priorities. She had six surgeries in six months and hundreds of doctor appointments.
Being an athlete since the age of 5, Erin wasn’t going to let cancer stand in her way. “You always expect a fastball, but when you're thrown a curveball, you still have to figure out how to hit it you know? Cancer was clearly unexpected, but I knew I had to find a way to beat it. Cancer was clearly unexpected, but I knew I had to find a way to beat it. My athletic mentality coupled with the undeniable support from family, friends and strangers is what ultimately got me thru cancer and still gets me through today!’
Erin pays it forward in the breast cancer research community by sitting on the board of the Breast Cancer Fundraiser, which raises funds for the ancillary services that aren’t usually covered by insurance, as well as WeCare boxes, a program that provides customized care packages to newly diagnosed breast cancer patients.
Cancer doesn’t discriminate it can affect anyone…
For Liz, a member of the FIT36 Waldwick family, her breast cancer diagnosis came at the age of 37. At the time, Liz was an active and healthy mom and wife. So, when she was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer, her world was rocked. “What I now realize is that cancer doesn't discriminate, and it can affect anyone. After surgery, chemo, radiation and ongoing adjuvant treatment, I am healthy and grateful every day to be alive.”
Battling breast cancer takes tremendous strength – internally and externally. When we asked Liz, what gave her strength to battle breast cancer she shared, “My family gives me daily strength. My mom was one of the strongest people I have ever known. She and my dad provided my family with great examples of daily strength. In the span of a few years, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and we lost my husband's father, brother and my mother. It was an extremely difficult time, and I continue to be in awe of my husband's and daughter’s resilience and strength through it all. I aim to continue to emulate their spirit. I am forever grateful to the tremendous support system and wonderful doctors I had while going through treatment.”
Liz and her family support several cancer charities and she is active in research through the Susan Love Foundation. She also wrote a short book after finishing treatment about her experience, with the goal of helping others. She’s also lets people know she’s happy to be a resource to anyone who is diagnosed regardless of the type of cancer. The year she finished her treatments, she participated in the 39-mile Avon Walk. Her goal is do it again with her daughters to celebrate her 10-year anniversary! Go Liz!
A big thank you and hug of gratitude to Erin and Liz for sharing their inspirational stories with us. FIT36 sends love and strength to all those who are currently battling this disease, as well as to all those cancer fighters who battled back and are living a healthy life. For more information, please visit the American Cancer Society.