Breast Cancer survivor lifts weights for a cause

Saturday 6a-8a newscast
Updated: Oct. 17, 2020 at 8:30 AM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - It’s no secret: COVID’s getting much of the attention in our health reporting. But other conditions and diseases continue to test patients and even rock families. So many of us know hearing a doctor say: “you have cancer” is life changing, but one of our neighbors on the Suncoast is beating those odds.

Carolyn Adams works out at Real Fitness Sarasota at least three times a week, where she bench presses, does some squats, and deadlifts. However, more than 10 years ago, Adams couldn’t do any of these thing because she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer.

“It was a very aggressive case,” she said.

Adams also says she spent a lot of time in chemo.

“I had bilateral mastectomy a couple months later, and it was late because I kept getting infections, my immune system was probably shot,” she said.

After ending her procedures, she remembers having a hard time catching her breath when going up a flight of stairs. That’s when she made a decision that changed her life.

“I drove to the closest Crossfit gym and said ‘sign me up.’”

Fast forward to now, Adams is 67 years old. Last month, she was able to deadlift 245 pounds, and before that, she competed for state and national titles.

“One of the coaches encouraged me to sign up for local meet, and I was the only one in my age group by a lot, so gold medal of course,” she said. “Then I challenged myself to compete at the big federation powerlifting and I did that, qualified for nationals, and I challenged myself to compete for that level and managed to come home with a bronze medal.”

Adams also has the state record at USA Powerlifting for deadlifting in her division. Now she’s hoping to inspire other women who are battling cancer or have battled cancer in the past. She says if she can do it -- so can you.

“I absolutely believe that wherever you are physically or mentally or emotionally, you can always do something and focus on what you can do versus what you can’t do,” she said.

Adams told ABC7 that she is cancer free and is looking into taking part in two competitions at the end of this year. She hopes to eventually deadlift 300 pounds.

This month, the Florida Department of Health in Sarasota and Manatee counties will be offering free breast and cervical cancer screenings, to women ages 50 to 64 who are low-income, uninsured or under insured.

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