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Celebrations – A Cancer Survivor’s Perspective

This week I had the unique opportunity to experience a full spectrum of the Triumph journey. We had two new classes of Triumph Fitness commencing, and a third class graduating. It reminded me quite clearly of how cancer affects a survivor and how Triumph changes lives.

I love meeting our Triumph Fitness participants. Their stories always inspire me, and refuel me. I am always touched by the stories I hear about our participants’ cancer journeys. The past few days have been no exception. During one of the new classes, an amazing woman shared her story of diagnosis and treatment and the difficulties she has faced post treatment. Clearly, finding Triumph was like a ray of hope for her. She also mentioned that she had recently celebrated her birthday – the first since becoming a cancer survivor. She remarked how this year, she viewed her birthday in a whole different way. Rather than dreading turning a year old, she had embraced this birthday because she realized that she was still here to celebrate. I remember quite distinctly having this same revelation 12 years ago when I celebrated my first post cancer diagnosis birthday. Funny how cancer can turn a switch and make a birthday such a great thing.

I also realized that Triumph itself is all about celebrating. We congratulate new participants for taking their first steps into our program to regain their strength and fitness. Because Triumph is all about taking back lives from cancer, that first step is a big one, and it is transformational. 12 weeks later, I have the privilege and honor of revisiting each class to celebrate their achievements. They may share with me how much longer they can hold the “dreaded plank” or the increase in weights on a machine. But what is most powerful to me is seeing people who are stronger not only physically, but emotionally. I see women and men standing proud and strong with renewed confidence.

I was told by one survivor that starting Triumph Fitness was the first time he felt like he had been treated like a person since his cancer diagnosis. That’s what Triumph is all about. Rediscovering the special strong person within each cancer survivor – and celebrating!

– Pam Whitehead



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