In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month – and our partnership with Stand Up To Cancer – we’re telling the powerful story of Flywheel Chicago rider Kate Nash. Kate was an avid rider (and pulser) when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016… and kept FLYing strong through recovery. Read on and get ready to feel inspired:
Ironically, I was first introduced to Flywheel in 2011 through Bright Pink, an organization focused on the prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancer in young women. As an obstetrican/gynecologist, I was invited to speak at Bright Pink’s Fab Fest where Kara Liotta, Creative Director of FlyBarre, led a class for participants. Flywheel was just opening in Chicago then, and she got me excited about it. I came sporadically for a while, then started coming regularly in the fall of 2016, just prior to my breast cancer diagnosis.
In September of 2016, I noticed a small pea in my right armpit. As an ob/gyn I do breast exams every day, so I recognized that it needed to be evaluated. I had a mammogram, needed a breast biopsy, and shortly thereafter I was diagnosed with Stage 1 triple negative breast cancer. Although my cancer was Stage 1, triple negative breast cancer can be more aggressive so I needed chemotherapy. I did eight cycles of chemotherapy from November 2016 to February 2016. In March of 2016, I had bilateral mastectomies and now I’m going through breast reconstruction. It’s been quite a journey–plenty of tears, but lots of laughs too.
Flywheel has been a bright spot amidst the chaos of cancer treatment and recovery! Some people thought I was crazy to go to a 6am Flywheel class while going through chemotherapy, but exercise makes me feel so much better. And being an athlete my whole life, exercise makes me feel normal. Flywheel, in particular, has this very positive vibe and supportive community which keeps me motivated.
Regardless of the health issue, physical or mental, exercise improves mood and energy. Specific to cancer, exercise has been shown to decrease fatigue during treatment and to reduce the risk of cancer recurrence moving forward. You have to stay active!
The Chicago FLY Fam has been incredible and so generous. In particular, Flywheel Old Town hosted a ride for my extended family. Fifteen of my cousins and their significant others came to ride with me in a show of support. I was at the halfway point of my chemotherapy and pretty tired; but between my actual family and the FLY Fam I had a great ride and so much fun. Everyday, from the front desk to the staff to the instructors, Chicago FLY Fam is kind, helpful and supportive. Finally—and he might not know this—but Teddy has been a big support to me throughout my treatment and recovery. I had just started going to his classes regularly before I was diagnosed, and his awesome music and positive energy has kept me going since then!
If you or someone you know has been impacted by breast cancer, remember one thing—you will get through this. You will get through this. You will get through this!