At 28 years old, Shaundrea Kee was enjoying life as a newlywed and mother to a beautiful one-year-old girl. She was active and enjoyed working out at her local gym. However, it all seemed to change in just one morning after she found a lump in her breast.
After running ultrasounds and mammograms, the doctors informed Shaundrea that she had HER2+ breast cancer. In order to fight cancer quickly, Shaundrea began a treatment plan that included six rounds of chemotherapy, a double mastectomy, and a year of immunotherapy.
Like most cancer patients, Shaundrea had to deal with difficult and sometimes debilitating side effects of treatment. The chemotherapy affected her appetite, which made it challenging to eat anything and caused Shaundrea to lose over 25 pounds in the span of a few short months.
“It was very difficult because I was once very active in the gym,” Shaundrea shared. “The hardest part was remembering how healthy and active I was right before being diagnosed. I had a goal of entering an NPC bikini competition but that quickly changed.”
Finding Great Strength
After treatment, Shaundrea was determined to work on her physical health and return to her previous activity level. That’s when she heard about Survivor Fitness from a friend. She realized that joining the program would help her regain the strength and stamina she had lost during treatment.
“I wanted to have the guidance and help to ease me back into the gym,” she recalled. “But I didn’t realize how much I would love having a trainer cheer for me and encourage me during workouts.”
Shaundrea was paired with a personal fitness trainer, Karen Kuzmyn, to begin bi-weekly workouts over the span of the next three months. As they worked together, Shaundrea recognized that Karen seemed to know exactly when she needed to be encouraged and when she needed to be challenged in the gym.
“Karen was an absolute godsend,” Shaundrea said. “She challenged and encouraged me physically and mentally.”
More Park Dates and Bike Rides
As she continued through the program, Shaundrea noticed her energy levels increasing and her mood improving. Gradually, she began to feel like her old self again. This was most evident in her newfound energy to enjoy time with her daughter again.
“Being in the gym helped me to increase my energy so that I could play with my daughter at the park or ride bikes together,” Shaundrea said. “I was afraid that I would never get back to feeling this good while going through treatments.”
Like most Survivor Fitness participants, Shaundrea learned how meaningful it can be to be surrounded by personal support after cancer treatment. She also recognized how valuable it can be to participate in a program that not only focuses on physical health but on the mental and nutritional aspects of well-being.
“I feel so much better inside and out,” she shared. “Having this program support you so thoroughly really gives you that motivation to go even harder for yourself.”
Get Back to Living with Survivor Fitness
Survivor Fitness has worked alongside survivors of every age, fitness level, and diagnosis to help individuals achieve their fitness goals after cancer treatment. While each participant’s journey is unique, every cancer survivor’s story gives us the momentum to continue providing this service to those who need it most. To learn more about becoming a Survivor Fitness participant, connect with us today.