Participant Spotlight: Ashley Blum

The fight against cancer can feel like a whirlwind of activity punctuated by moments of stillness and fear. The physical, mental, and emotional toll can linger long after treatment ends, making the journey to recovery a complex one. 

Ashley Blum, a participant in the Survivor Fitness program, has navigated these obstacles and discovered newfound strength and resilience even after treatment.

A Jarring Diagnosis and Unexpected Hurdles

As a young mother, Ashley’s world shifted on February 2, 2018. What she initially believed to be a clogged milk duct turned out to be a life-altering discovery. Following an initial consultation with her midwife, a series of tests—ultrasounds, and mammograms—unfolded over the next week. Finally, on February 15, while enjoying lunch with a friend, Ashley received the earth-shattering news: a diagnosis of primary angiosarcoma, an uncommon and aggressive form of cancer in her left breast.

“While awareness and research abound for breast cancer,” Ashley shares, “discovering the rarity of my condition intensified my fear exponentially.”

Despite the unexpected nature of the diagnosis, Ashley opted for a single mastectomy with an aesthetic flat closure. Supported by a loving network, she embarked on her healing journey. Scans became a regular part of her routine, and running became a powerful tool in her recovery, culminating in a half marathon four weeks after surgery. However, eight months later, the physical imbalance caused by the flat closure mastectomy led to significant back pain, necessitating a second mastectomy.

Running had become a vital part of Ashley’s well-being, a source of both physical and mental strength. In July 2022, another setback arose when she fractured the talus bone in her ankle, requiring two surgeries.

Coping with “Scanxiety” and Finding a New Community

Losing the ability to run was a significant blow. The constant anxiety surrounding the possibility of the angiosarcoma returning, a fear often referred to as “scanxiety,” weighed heavily on Ashley.

“Emotionally, I found myself in turmoil,” she explains. “Coping with ‘scanxiety’ presented a formidable challenge.”

Faced with an extended recovery period and the inability to run, Ashley’s oncologist suggested exploring the Survivor Fitness program. After reaching out, she was quickly paired with A|Train Fitness in Nashville and began the program.

With a focus on finding new ways to move her body due to her injury, Ashley’s participation in Survivor Fitness evolved into a source of hope, strength, and renewal.

“Learning new ways to move has changed my life,” she says. “I’ve been able to regain my wellness more than I ever imagined.”

Beyond the physical benefits of learning new exercise techniques and routines, Ashley discovered a profound level of emotional support within the Survivor Fitness community.

“Through this program,” Ashley shares, “I forged meaningful connections, honed my strength training skills, and received invaluable coaching from remarkable individuals.”

Today, Ashley remains actively involved in the program, regularly participating in the Saturday in-person workout classes with other Survivor Fitness alums.

Finding Hope and Support Beyond Treatment

For cancer survivors navigating a similar path, Ashley offers a message of encouragement: “There are support networks available to assist individuals facing similar challenges. Connecting with someone who has firsthand experience can be profoundly reassuring and comforting.”

The Survivor Fitness community stands ready to offer the support, guidance, and encouragement you need to thrive. If you are a cancer survivor looking to reclaim your strength after treatment, we invite you to learn more about our Survivor Fitness programs or submit an application today.