Participant Spotlight: Jennifer Brown

The journey of a cancer survivor reflects remarkable inner strength. Many patients have navigated the physical and emotional challenges of fighting cancer — sometimes over the course of numerous years – only to find themselves facing uncertainties about the road ahead. As the demanding treatments end, a wave of feeling overwhelmed and fearful can wash over, emphasizing the deep complexity of life after treatment.

That’s how Survivor Fitness participant Jennifer Brown described her experience. 

In April 2018, Jennifer was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. She started chemotherapy the following month, which dropped her weight to 98 pounds and forced her to learn new ways of caring for herself.  After initially receiving an NED diagnosis, Jennifer’s cancer returned at the beginning of 2021, and she began another round of treatment. This time, it took such a toll that Jennifer had to retire from work.

Thankfully, Jennifer became stable around October 2022. That’s when she started thinking about how to regain her strength and energy. 

“I knew my body was weaker than ever, and I wanted to be able to get out and live life. But I was scared I would do more harm than good, and quite frankly, I was embarrassed about my physical state. I could do nothing!” 

Jennifer found hope when she saw a story about Survivor Fitness on the news and reached out to apply for the program. 

From Surviving To Thriving

The following month, Jennifer started her program with Matt Kay at Performance Training in Knoxville, TN. After her first workout, Jennifer knew that this program was precisely what she needed to get back on her feet. She was grateful to connect with a personal trainer who understood her unique challenges and shared a kindred spirit that would encourage and challenge her when needed. 

With Matt’s guidance and support, Jennifer made tremendous strides throughout the 12-week program. 

“At first, the warm-up felt like a total workout. By the end of the sessions, I was working with weight and doing kettlebell squats with 35 to 40 pounds!”

Like many Survivor Fitness participants, Jennifer celebrates how much she achieved in such a short amount of time. Not only was she able to regain strength and energy, but confidence as well. She remembered the discouraging feeling she would get when people looked at her during cancer treatment. Today, she is able at things completely differently. She has been able to change her mindset from “I can’t” to “Maybe I can… let’s try.” 

“This program changed the view of myself from a cancer patient to a person living with cancer!” she celebrated. “I see myself as a person, not a diagnosis. Cancer can take a lot from you, but it can’t take your spirit.”

“Choose Hope and Get to Living” 

Today, Jennifer continues to make tremendous strides in her recovery journey. Through  Survivor Fitness, she’s learned the proper way to lift and exercise. 

“Survivor Fitness showed me everyone has their own starting point, and there is no shame in what that looks like. Just making an effort is a step toward success.” 

Jennifer continues to work out with kettlebells and dumbbells at home. She walks regularly and has even begun incorporating jogging into her routine. She is grateful that her increased movement and strength are helping her body recover faster and fight cancer cells.

Jennifer’s recovery has also opened the door to new opportunities she never thought would be possible again. 

“I was recently contacted about returning to a job I absolutely loved — working with adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Because of Survivor Fitness, I could return to working part-time!”

Jennifer carries her infectious positivity and ‘can-do spirit’ into everything she does. As she continues her recovery journey, she encourages every cancer survivor to find the determination to keep moving forward after treatment.

“Choose hope, choose resolve, choose positivity. Choose Survivor Fitness and get to living!”

Interested in Becoming a Survivor Fitness Participant?

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 and our in-person or virtual training options.