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This Woman With Cerebral Palsy Beat Cancer And Opened Her Own CrossFit Gym

People are capable of some truly amazing things and there is no better example than this young cancer survivor with cerebral palsy who opened her very own CrossFit gym.

When she was born, doctors said Stephanie Hammerman might never walk, talk, read or write.

Now 29 years old, Stephanie has accomplished all of those things and much more, including earning her master’s degree.

After grad school, Stephanie was on a mission to get more active and decided to sign up for a hand cycled-marathon.

The 29-year-old finished in 4:34:16, which was all of the time it took to discover her passion for fitness.

In 2012, Stephanie began taking CrossFit classes and loved them so much she became thefirst CrossFit Level 2 certified trainer with cerebral palsy.

“It’s always really fun to surprise people,” she said. “Nobody thought I would be an athlete. When you’re born with some sort of difference, it’s really an innate sense of positivity.”

Unfortunately, two years later she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma stage 3B.

“I didn’t have time for cancer,” Stephanie said. “I went into the doctor’s office and she said, ‘I’ve never worked with anyone with cerebral palsy before.’ I said, ‘We can do this. I just need to know what you need me to do.’ And she said, ‘Just be exactly who you are.’ ”

Stephanie’s determination and positive attitude helped her fight through the 29 weeks of cancer treatment.

After completing her treatment and receiving clear scans, the athlete returned to her fitness practice and even became Nike’s first adaptive athlete.

The title was awarded to Stephanie after she shared positive feedback about the athletic brand’s Metcon sneakers.

“When they told me they wanted to sign me as an athlete, I was like you wanna do WHAT?!” she told Morning Chalk Up, a CrossFit blog. “The cool thing about Nike is that they don’t just say they’re going to do something. From the very beginning, everyone at Nike treated me as an elite athlete.”

And this was just the beginning.

In 2018, Stephanie went on to open her very own CrossFit gym, Hammer Driven Fitness, outside Raleigh, North Carolina.

It wasn’t long before members began filling the gym.

“They’re not here because I’m in a chair. They want me to help them get better,” she told GMA. “That’s my purpose. That’s why I’m here.”

Stephanie hopes that her journey inspires others to fight for their dreams regardless of the obstacles life throws at them.

“I am an example for so many people out there, and what’s really cool is people come in and I change their perception of what an adaptive athlete looks like,” she said. “I change their perception of what it means to be part of the adaptive community, and I can’t be more proud of that.”

h/t: Majically


Written by Emily Burns

Writer and editorial specialist based out of Austin, TX.