Participant Spotlight: Ursula Dahnelt

Survivor Fitness was founded on the principle of supporting cancer survivors  “no matter your age, no matter your fitness level, no matter your diagnosis.” Because of technology like video-conferencing, we’ve also been able to add “location” to our list of “no matters”. While Survivor Fitness was founded in Nashville and has expanded to cities across Tennessee, several of our fitness partners also offer virtual training courses which have created the opportunity to serve cancer patients in rural areas or even different states.  

Ursula Dahnelt is a Survivor Fitness participant who recently completed our training program virtually. She has proven that a desire to stay healthy is all you need to take the steps from survivor to thriver. 

A Long Battle with Cancer

Ursula is a Colorado native who loves to hike and explore the outdoors. In 2017, Ursula was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. For her, coming to accept her diagnosis was the hardest part of the journey which included five years of constant treatment. 

“I have been in a lot of treatment for the last five years with only little breaks,” Ursula recalled. “It puts a toll on body and mind.” 

The harsh medication caused Ursula to experience a lot of fatigue. She also lost strength along the way which was frustrating. Thankfully, her treatment plan worked, but after five years of constant treatment, Ursula struggled to find the motivation to get back into fitness again. That’s when she stumbled across Survivor Fitness.

“I saw Survivor Fitness mentioned online. I don’t remember where exactly, but I was intrigued and immediately sent an email expressing my interest.” 

A Turning Point of Accomplishment

Ursula was connected with Emma, one of our Survivor Fitness training coaches, in September of 2022. Together, they met online twice a week for three months. After her first training session, Ursula was hooked.  

“Emma made the class fun, and I gained strength week by week. It is not easy with age, but I am grateful that she helped me obtain my goal of getting stronger again.” 

Ursula completed the 12-week training program without missing a single class. After completing her sessions, she recalled how the program helped her address the toll that treatment had on her mentally and physically. Through a mix of functional strength training exercises, Ursula was able to build power, increase endurance, and gain better posture. Her confidence also grew along the way. 

“Survivor Fitness helped me build up my strength and become confident in myself again. I love being able to open bottles and containers with my own strength. That is a wonderful accomplishment.” 

A New Journey in the Right Direction

Like many Survivor Fitness participants, Ursula used the program as a springboard to continue her recovery journey. Today, Ursula continues to attend strength and fitness training classes at her local training center. 

“Survivor Fitness was such a great find to move in the right direction again. It was not easy, but my motivation to complete the program then allowed me to continue outside of Survivor Fitness by attending local classes.” 

She credits her time with Emma and Survivor Fitness as a turning point in her recovery journey.

“The Survivor Fitness training gave me an edge to join those classes. Without those three months of private training with Survivor Fitness, I would have become discouraged very fast and would have ended up not continuing with my workouts.”

Interested in Becoming a Survivor Fitness Participant?

We realize that cancer doesn’t discriminate and wanted to create a program that would be beneficial for any and every survivor. As a result, we’ve worked with participants from all walks of life. Our fitness trainers understand the toll that cancer treatment has on the body and do an incredible job of working with each participant to develop a personal training routine that leads to transformation and cultivates the motivation to continue their post-cancer journey. 

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 our program as well as our in-person or virtual training options.