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Big Hearts: Fitness program gives cancer patients and survivors renewed strength

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB) -  You may have driven by the south Abilene facility. It's called, Strength Fitness at 2526 S. 7th Street. The gym offers a non-profit organization serving cancer patients and survivors. 

"We established ourselves in March. We are a free exercise program for cancer patients and survivors," says Stephanie Phelps, the Executive Director. 

Phelps comes to the gym with renewed strength, "Two and a half years ago, I beat stage 3 cancer, lymphoma, myself. I started working out at the gym with Josh and Andy, the owners of the gym."

Phelps says it was life-changing, "It was a blessing in my life and I wanted to be able to pass that on to others."

"I was diagnosed at 33 with breast cancer. Stage 2," says Jennifer Barnard, an Abilene resident. 

You can find Barnard in the gym every week. She only recently found out about her diagnosis, "I actually found it breastfeeding. I'm currently doing cancer treatments. I have chemo going on right now. I have 16 rounds and then surgery and radiation to follow."

Phelps adds, "I have a heart for cancer patients and survivors. I want to see them grow stronger and beat it."

Barnard is one of more than 180 cancer patients and survivors who come to Strength for Life to conquer cancer, "The best things that I've had is connections with other cancer survivors. Hearing their stories, knowing what they've gone through, really puts into perspective that I can beat this."

Strength for Life offers its programs to cancer patients and survivors for the rest of their lives. The non-profit relies on donations, grants, and fundraisers to serve these individuals. If the money isn't there, those involved say they will volunteer their time and services to keep working with their clients. 

For more information on the Strength for Life non-profit, you can call (325) 665-9244 or visit the organization's Facebook page

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