Abilene fitness studio offers classes for cancer patients, survivors


ABILENE, Texas - Beth Smith of Eula fought and beat triple negative breast cancer just a year ago.

But her journey didn't end there; she's now attending Strength Fitness, styled as Str3ngth Fitness, in Abilene to regain the strength she once had.

"It is what it is and I beat it, I believe I beat it," Smith said.

Smith discovered a lump under her arm while she was taking a shower last January, so she went to the doctor to get a mammogram. Although the lump did not show up in that test, Smith received an MRI and doctors found a mass.

"I was really sick and it was really tough, and I got bald headed," she said with a chuckle.

Strength Fitness works with a non-profit program called Fit Step for Life, which helps cancer patients and survivors with nutrition and rehabilitation. Anyone who has battled the life-threatening disease are eligible to attend the facility for free with a doctor's referral. Strength Fitness has had 97 patient referral since opening April 2016.

The trainers have about 300 training sessions with patients per week. Co-owner Andi Lukaszeski said the atmosphere in the facility is a positive one because current patients and survivors train together and inspire one another.

"It gives them a sense of, 'OK I can do this now and beat this cancer,' and I just think that helps the process," Lukaszeski said. "It's really crazy how far they can come in a matter of a few weeks."

Smith and her husband own a cattle ranch in Eula. She said she used to be able to lift hay bales above her head before her breast cancer. When the disease took its toll on her body, all she could do was lay in bed.

She's been attending the gym for three weeks now, and she said she is slowly but surely building up her stamina. She looks forward to attending the facility before every visit.

"If I can take anything from this experience, it's to be grateful," she said. "Be grateful for everything we have and all the blessings you have."

Strength Fitness is located at 2526 South 7 th Street.

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