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Hi! I’m Lindsey, RAD athlete #77, and now, PUMA ATHLETE!

 

This is for the woman, four years ago, recovering from a round of chemo known as “the red devil,” who could barely move from the couch because she was so nauseous and weak. She is my inspiration every time I lift a barbell for the last two years. What would she say if she could fast forward to this moment? That she would learn how to pick up a barbell and prove to herself that she could be stronger than ever.

That one day she would find herself at the beach on a picture-perfect sunny day in Southern California, modeling for PUMA with a group of strong young women who share a similar experience.

Lights, Camera, Action!

The day-long shoot was quite a production and I took note of the details: the hairstylist who used unusual Parisian bobby pins and hair ties that looked like mini bungee cords. A wardrobe stylist who made sure the knot in the back of my crop top was stylishly knotted. Numerous production assistants, including one who operated a fan to mimic the breeze blowing through our hair. Best of all, a female photographer and videographer, were able to capture the Barbells for Boobs spirit and made me feel at ease the whole day.

The level of professionalism was impressive and it was inspiring to see the PUMA crew do their job seamlessly.

Athletes with Heart

It was my first time meeting the other three RAD athletes or, “Talent” as we were identified on the “call sheet,” a fancy name for a list of everyone on set. There was indomitable Wanda, calming Kay, and fierce Cecy— incredible women with their own empowering stories of strength.

Wanda

RAD Athlete

Jet-lagged from her flight from Poland but in child-like awe of everything around her. She celebrated her one-year cancerversary on this trip, sassy pixie cut and all.

Kay

RAD Athlete

Her quiet confidence was beautiful to watch, she practically sparkled in front of the camera. The moment I saw she could do a power clean and jerk, I made that my goal for next year. She’s Filipina, like me, and seeing her lift was inspiring. Representation matters!

Cecy

RAD Athlete

Up for anything even though she was just nine weeks post-delivery joined by her precious newborn, Leo. She is the inspiration behind Barbells for Boobs and BFB founder, Zionna’s best friend.

By the end of the day, we had all connected in such a special way. No one understands life after diagnosis like a RAD athlete: the fears, the joys, the spectrum of emotions, the victories both big and small and everything in between; learning how to trust your body, finding the confidence to present yourself to the world every day after the changes from treatment, the mindset it takes to rebuild your health from scratch, and the commitment to prioritize fitness as a lifestyle.

And now, we have an activewear collection with PUMA that proudly shares the spirit of Barbells for Boobs. For me, it’ll come in handy as an instant mood booster on the hard days, (many don’t realize that even when treatment is over, preventative maintenance is still a challenge) and I’ll remember that I’m part of a movement much bigger than myself. You’ll see the phrase “Choose Joy” featured throughout the collection. This is not a one-dimensional mindset. It’s a reflection of a daily intention and practice in how I choose to move through the world. It’s how I take back my power from cancer, no matter the curveballs life has for me, even in the darkest of places, there’s always a small ray of sunshine to enjoy.

To go through all that and share this dream opportunity on the other side of extreme hardship with Wanda, Kay and Cecy, women who are one-of-a-kind, shows me that when women in this community stick together, we can accomplish anything.

Lindsey Baguio Gerhard, RAD Athlete #77

Stronger Than Ever

My body has gone through so much and participating in this BFB x PUMA collab is the ultimate celebration of all the milestones that have gotten me to this point— five years with no evidence of disease and the fact that I’m stronger than ever.

I still can’t wrap my head around it because I was diagnosed with breast cancer twice. The first time in 2015, I was 30; the second time in 2017, I was 32. As you might imagine, I’ve gone through a lot of treatment: a mastectomy with immediate reconstruction and lymph node removal, fertility preservation, endocrine therapy with Tamoxifen, a lumpectomy, 33 doses of radiation, chemotherapy, and less than a year ago, implant removal with aesthetic flat closure.

Honestly, for the longest time, I didn’t consider myself athletic. Whether you would’ve asked me pre-cancer or post-cancer, I would’ve said no. Exercise used to be an activity that involved cardio equipment at the gym, and it was solely to hit a number on the scale. Thanks to the support of Barbells for Boobs and my neighborhood gym, Ottawa-based Premium Performance, exercise isn’t just exercising anymore. It’s movement. It’s a lifestyle and mindset.

Thanks to PUMA for supporting a small but mighty community of change-makers, and adding value to the conversation during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Together we are defining our own standard of care with strength and style. I can’t wait to wear my new gear with pride!

Lindsey Gerhard is a writer and women’s health advocate based in Ottawa. Learn more about her on Instagram @thedailylindsey or www.thedailylindsey.com.

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