Participant Spotlight: Shawyn King

The battle with cancer is often a long and difficult journey. For most patients, the weeks and months are charted by micro-moments. These might be brief interactions or experiences that only last a couple of minutes, but they are moments the patient never forgets. That’s how Survivor Fitness participant Shawyn King described her story. Shawyn was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 47. Her initial diagnosis led to an incredibly challenging and physically taxing treatment plan that left her bedridden for nearly six months. But that’s not the end of her story. Shawyn is a cancer warrior who continues to fight and inspire others in their battle against cancer. 

“I’ll Never Forget the Day I Found Out I Have Cancer”

In November 2020, Shawyn noticed a lump in her chest. She originally thought she had pulled a muscle at the gym, but she decided to contact her primary care doctor who set up a diagnostic mammogram for her. During the mammogram, the doctors expressed concern and conducted an ultrasound.  Within minutes, they came in and told Shawyn that she needed a biopsy the following week. 

“During the biopsy, I remember asking, ‘What happens when this comes back and it’s not cancer?’” Shawyn recalled. “I remember the look on her face as she responded, ‘This is cancer. I do this every day and you need to find a breast surgeon and an oncologist.’ I left her and called my husband and said, ‘I think they just told me I have cancer.’”

Shawyn’s battle with cancer started that day. A few weeks later, Shawyn learned that her cancer was very aggressive and that she was going to need equally aggressive treatment. She started the dreaded “red devil” treatment plan that included both chemo and radiation. 

After 30 rounds of radiation, Shawyn was mostly bedridden for six months. The steroids weakened her significantly, wreaking havoc on her body. 

“That Day My Life Changed Again… for the Better.”

After her treatment ended in 2021, Shawyn was still struggling to walk and move. She wanted to find a way to regain her strength and see what life could look like after the biggest fight of her life. She expressed this desire to a nurse, who gave her information about Survivor Fitness.

“I was hesitant to call and inquire because treatment for cancer had financially been hard,” Shawyn described. “But I decided to check it out. I learned that Survivor Fitness had scholarships available, and I got a call back from Meg. That day my life changed once again, but this time for the better!”

Because of the way treatment impacted her body, Shawyn could barely walk up the eight steps to the training facility. “I was blessed with Carissa Mahoney as my trainer. The first day she asked me what my challenge was, and I replied, ‘Those eight steps to get into the building.’“ Shawyn described. “She put her clipboard down and said, ‘Then that is where we will start today.’” 

She will never forget what it was like to go back outside, walk down the steps slowly, and learn as Carissa showed her ways to help engage her muscles and build her strength back. With the encouragement and support of her trainers, Shawyn began a customized workout plan that allowed her to exercise daily. She pushed herself to become a little stronger each day. 

“It Took Cancer to Show Me My Potential” 

Today, Shawyn is able to run those stairs like “Rocky.” She still benefits from the encouragement and support of her trainers.

“The trainers and Survivor Fitness become your biggest cheerleaders,” she expressed. “They ultimately became my family!”

Today, Shawyn is preparing for another battle—but it’s not cancer or trying to make it up the stairs into the training facility. She is training for a sprint triathlon to commemorate the two-year mark since her diagnosis. The race is taking place less than a year after she tried to make it up the steps into the training facility.

“My first day of Survivor Fitness I could barely walk up 8 steps,” Shawyn recalled. “Through the encouragement and support my trainer and Survivor Fitness provided, I am about to do a sprint triathlon. This by far has been the best experience with fitness and health in my life, and it took cancer to show me my potential.

Looking for Inspiration and Encouragement on Your Recovery Journey?

Shawyn is an incredible inspiration to our entire community at Survivor Fitness. If you or someone you know is a cancer survivor looking to regain health and wellness after cancer, we’re here for you! 

Connect with us today to learn more about the specific ways Survivor Fitness can support you on your journey to regain health and strength after cancer.