"To know D is to love her."

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and here at Our Community Now, we wanted to highlight a remarkable woman who isn't letting a cancer diagnosis keep her from bringing light and hope to those around her.

Meet D, a woman who has been called by her friends, family, and coworkers as a "bright soul" with "perpetually uplifting character." (Upon first meeting D via Zoom video conferencing, all of that was true, and then some. I was so in awe of the depths of strength and sheer willpower this woman possesses.)

An active member in the health and fitness community, D has worn many different "hats" during her time at Prestige Fitness and Zone Fitness—from fitness manager to operations manager, general manager, and master trainer—and it's all because she has a passion for helping others. D would also aid Prestige and Zone every year with Sweat for a Cure, a promotion run to help raise awareness for breast cancer.

"To know what these women (and men) go through, it's mind-boggling," she said. "You can't prepare for anything like this."

D (front row/center) with the Zone Fitness team. Courtesy of Halley Cook.

And now, due to her breast cancer diagnosis and the coronavirus pandemic, D can't be there for anybody who may need her help.

Diagnosed on May 1, she has been unable to be in the general public because her immune system is compromised from the chemo. She has been unable to visit restaurants because she could catch something that could significantly set her back. She has been unable to work at the moment; though, she does plan on going back to work in January so she can "earn income and stay on top of these bills."

She is, however, not letting this knock her down or keep her from remaining positive, all while she undergoes four rounds of chemotherapy, followed by 30 rounds of radiation.

Fighting cancer does take its a toll—physically, emotionally, mentally, and financially. Even with insurance, the out-of-pocket costs are astronomical. Because of this, as well as unexpected physical changes following her Mastectomy, D has opted for delayed reconstruction surgery—a procedure that is approximately $19,000–$22,000.

D says that surgery will not be her "only concern in 2021." For the next 5 years, she'll be undergoing hormone therapy, regular visits to the Oncologist, yearly bones scans, PET scans, and blood work done.

Despite all of this, D remains confident that this is merely a bump in the road.

"My hope is that this time next year, I can look back and say I got help," D said. "There's a lot of us who don't ask for help."

So, this is where we all can do our part and be there for D, just like she's been there for us. You can help with D's medical bills by donating to her GoFundMe page, DW Cancer Ninja.

Zone Athletic Clubs and Prestige Fitness Clubs will also be donating all enrollment fees from new member sign-ups and all proceeds from in-club t-shirt sales to D as she continues her fight with breast cancer. If you or someone you know has been looking to stay active and join a fun, clean, and judgment-free workout facility, October is the time to do so! Let’s continue to support D in her fight and do what we can to help her overcome such an obstacle.

We stand with D as she continues to kick cancer's ass!