Celebrating Feroza Freeland: The 2023 Nashville Survivor Soirée Honoree

A room full of people sitting at tables participating in the survivor fitness soirée.

Last month, we had the opportunity to celebrate our fourth annual Survivor Soirée in Nashville, one of our marquee events for the year. It was a night to remember as we celebrated participants from Nashville and the surrounding area. We also enjoyed performances from Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Tim Nichols, ACC Award-nominated singer-songwriter Lance Miller, Nora Collins, and Joe Forte. 

In addition to celebrating the impact of our supporters and recognizing this year’s honoree, we also had the opportunity to share some exciting news about the future of Survivor Fitness.

Highlights from the 2023 Nashville Survivor Fitness Soirée

Thank you doesn’t even begin to describe how grateful we are for the generosity from the Nashville community. We are continually blown away by their love and support for Survivor Fitness. This year’s Nashville event raised almost $140,000 to help cancer survivors not only regain their strength but reclaim their lives! 

The support raised from this year’s soirée will make a life-changing impact for hundreds of cancer survivors. 

Special thanks to our sponsors for this year’s event: Pinnacle Financial Partners, Green Apple Strategy, Taylor Farms, Truist Investment Services, The Smith Group of Truist Investment Services, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, GCA, Polsinelli Law Firm, Ernst & Young, and Nashville Breast Center.   

Celebrating This Year’s Honoree: Feroza Freeland

Recognizing a recent Survivor Fitness participant is one of the highlights of each Survivor Fitness Soirée we’ve hosted. This year, we had the opportunity to celebrate Feroza Freeland as this year’s honoree.

In 2020, at 25 years old, Feroza noticed a lump in her chest that was later identified as breast cancer. A couple of weeks later, while visiting a fertility specialist, cancer was also discovered in her uterus. After three rounds of surgery and chemo, Feroza fought through all of the physical, mental, and emotional challenges that arose through treatment. But like many cancer survivors, she recognized that wasn’t the journey’s end.

“Ringing the bell at the end of treatment felt very triumphant,” Feroza explained. “There was a sense that ‘you’re done, you’ve beaten it, it’s over, now you can move on with your life,’ but I wasn’t feeling that at all.” 

As Feroza was searching for ways to start her journey of healing and process, she discovered Survivor Fitness. She experienced a true transformation through personal training, encouragement, and community. 

Watch the video below to hear more about Feroza’s experience with Survivor Fitness:

Join the Survivor Fitness Community

We extend our sincerest love, gratitude, and appreciation to everyone who contributed to the tremendous success of the 2023 Nashville Survivor Soirée. We couldn’t have done it without you!

If you want to be part of supporting cancer survivors on their road to recovery, there are numerous ways you can get involved with the Survivor Fitness community. You can also check out more Survivor Fitness spotlights to hear from other other participants.

If you or someone you know is a cancer survivor looking to regain your health and wellness, connect with us today to learn more. 

Celebrating Shawyn King and Dani Lorson: The 2023 Knoxville Survivor Fitness Soirée Honorees

A room full of people sitting at tables participating in the survivor fitness soirée.

In 2018, when we hosted our first Survivor Fitness Soirée in Knoxville, we recognized how meaningful it was to celebrate participants and remind our supporters how they were making HOPE possible. 

Last month, we had the opportunity to host our fifth annual Survivor Soirée in Knoxville. The evening was a special time for us to join together and honor cancer survivors in our community. We celebrated the impact of our participant’s hard work, recognized our special Survivor Fitness honorees, and shared some exciting news about the future of our organization.

Highlights from the 2023 Knoxville Survivor Fitness Soiré

The generosity of our Knoxville community is truly inspiring. This year’s event raised over $120,000 to support the needs of cancer survivors in Knoxville. Their generosity will help us to provide essential services and support to cancer survivors and their families. 

Special thanks to our sponsors for this year’s event: FirstBank, FirstBank Investment Partners, Axle Logistics, Peyton Cherry Fine Homes, Revitalyze MD, Pinnacle Financial Partners, Tennessee Orthopedic Clinics, CBi, Rachael Wedkind Hones, Citizens Bank and Knoxville Dermatology and Plastic Surgery.

Celebrating This Year’s Honorees: Shawyn King and Dani Lorson

A special part of the evening is recognizing individuals who have made an impact on this community. In 2023, we honor Shawyn King and Dani Lorson as our Survivor Fitness honorees. Dani is a professional dancer and leukemia survivor who had cancer for multiple years before joining our program. After going through 30 rounds of radiation treatment for breast cancer, Shawyn joined the Survivor Fitness community to regain her strength and see what life could look like after cancer. Both women are inspiring examples of strength and resilience in navigating life after cancer. 

Watch the video below to hear more about each of their journeys: 

We are grateful for Shawyn and Dani’s courage and inspiration. Both are inspiring examples of strength and resilience in navigating life after cancer. 

Our hearts are overflowing with gratitude to everyone who made the Knoxville Survivor  Soirée such a resounding success. Words cannot express how thankful we are.

Participant Spotlight: Kim Nielsen

Kim Nielsen on a boat overlooking the water

A cancer diagnosis can be a seismic shift in life—especially for people who revel in the joys of hiking, running races, and exercising. Suddenly, most of the physical activities that were once a part of their life come to a halt. Once treatment begins, the trails they once conquered with ease become daunting, and the finish lines they used to cross seem distant. Finding the courage and regaining the strength to endure the marathon of recovery is a testament to their resilience.

Survivor Fitness participant Kim Nielsen exemplifies what’s possible when you are determined to reclaim life after cancer treatment and redefine what it means to be active.

Kim is an avid runner and adventure seeker. However, after completing the 16-kilometer race from Paris to Versailles in 2019, she noticed slight differences in her body. Kim began to experience bloating, and weight gain, along with respiratory symptoms and trouble breathing. She decided to visit the doctor and was diagnosed with Stage 3c Ovarian Cancer.

That’s when her long journey with cancer began. She immediately started three rounds of IV chemo. Then, she underwent surgery to remove the cancer throughout her thoracic cavity and completed a hysterectomy before enduring three more rounds of IV chemo.

Once that treatment ended, Kim began two-and-a-half years of PARP inhibitor therapy, a type of chemo intended to ‘trick’ her DNA into not producing cancer cells.

A New Path to Regaining Strength

After the surgery, Kim recognized how much her body had changed. The treatment had impacted her hormones and the steroids she had to take affected her metabolism. Like most cancer patients, she had lost significant muscle mass and gained weight during treatment.  

“The strong body I once lived in became weak,” she said. “I wanted to feel alive and in control of my body again.”

Kim started running and hiking again during her treatment with the PARP inhibitor. But she also recognized a need to regain strength after so much medicine and lack of activity. That’s when Julie at the VICC Patient and Family Resource Center told her about Survivor Fitness. Kim immediately recognized this was the answer to finding the help she needed to reconnect with and strengthen her body.

“Three years of chemotherapy and treatment made me determined to regain my strength and confidence to do things I loved to do, like hike, camp, run, and travel,” she shared. “I needed to be strong and confident in my body to continue to live my life to the fullest.”

Connecting with Survivor Fitness

Over the next twelve weeks, she began working with Caroline and Michaela at Chadwick’s Fitness in Franklin, TNTheir encouragement, support, and training were the perfect match for her recovery after cancer treatment. 

Finding a way to regain her strength was an incredibly healing process for Kim. It also opened the door for her to seek new opportunities and chase adventures she thought she had lost. 

“Being back in my body and knowing I can count on it again after the betrayal of cancer has been so empowering,” she said. “Survivor Fitness has given me back my confidence to hike my bucket list hikes and go after the things I had put aside in the past.” 

Kim continues to use her newfound strength to build up her running and keep completing her hiking and adventure goals. She recently hiked Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park. She also continues to work out with Chadwick’s Group Fitness Program with other Survivor Fitness participants and athletes.

“Survivor Fitness has been a great gift to me. I have regained, gained strength, lost inches, and feel like I fit into my body again,” Kim celebrated. “Without the program, I would not be able to do the things I have been able to do since I ended treatment.”

Support and Strength for Survivors

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.