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Stephanie

In June 2008 I graduated with my Masters from U of T, my boyfriend [now husband] was moving across the country to be with me, I was young[er], I was active, and ready to conquer the world.   Not quite 2 months later, I was diagnosed with stage 3 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a type of blood cancer.  My doctors prescribed 6-months of chemotherapy along with a list of other drugs that kept me on the couch or in bed most days of the week.  Any energy I had I put into maintaining the small start I had mustered for my career and in all other areas of my life, I went into “survival mode”.  6-months later, I was declared IN REMISSION.

After an experience like that, you spend a lot of time reflecting.  There are so many things to be thankful and happy for:  I’m lucky I’m alive and I cherish every moment and every day as though it could be my last.  At the same time, there is the aftermath of going through such an intense form of treatment - it’s a catch 22 – the medications that saved my life also made a permanent impact on my remaining health.   I was left bald, 50 pounds heavier, and completely out of shape.  I saw myself as a marshmallow.

Now, hair grows back in time, but the added weight and inactivity was immediately concerning.  In an effort to regain my health I hopped from gym to gym then to yoga studios hot and cold.  I lost weight through restrictive dieting and then gained it back because I neglected building muscle.  This year, I’m 5 years in remission, which is a HUGE milestone.  To celebrate, my sister and I decided to run the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco benefitting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.   This goal started as an effort to raise money for the organization that helped save my life and as a way to get back into shape.  What I didn’t expect was that this exciting endeavor would also introduce me to CROSSFIT!

I have to admit, when my husband first suggested we try Crossfit, I was intimidated and worried about hurting myself.  I hadn’t lifted weights in years and my good friend, a chiropractor, told horror stories about the many people she had to treat after a session gone awry.  Then I met Kristi and I went through the foundations classes and realized that I remembered a lot more than I thought I would AND there was always a watchful eye around to make sure I didn’t do something stupid.  Since chemo and through all my yo-yo gym crawling, Crossfit Vortex has been the first place I’ve felt at home.  Everyone has been exceptionally encouraging, accepting, and welcoming.  During a class in my first month, I remember face planting after missing a box jump, and though I felt like an idiot, everyone in the class told their own funny missed-box jump story.

It is humbling to experience the support this gym has for one another.  I feel honoured to be a member of the Crossfit Vortex family and I’m thankful for the incredible support and unconditional acceptance you’ve already given for my upcoming fitness and fundraising goals.  October 19 I run the Nike Women’s Half Marathon with my sister and with the Crossfit Vortex family.  I know with all of your encouragement and support, I will cross that finish line feeling fit, strong, and happy!

Athlete:Stephanie