In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we’re raising money and awareness, celebrating survivors, and working together to make a difference in the fight against this disease. This Survivor Spotlight is dedicated to two incredible members of the CycleBar family: Mandi Newkirk of CycleBar Sarasota UTC and Jaclyn Alternwein of CycleBar Fort Lee. Their stories are truly inspiring, and remind us of the importance of getting screened early and regularly.
Listen to Your Body: Mandi Newkirk
Mandi is now eight years cancer-free, having been diagnosed at age 29. After waking up in the middle of the night with a strange, intense pain in her left breast, she immediately went to the doctor. She was told to come back in six months to see how things progressed, as it didn’t appear to be cancer at the time. Mandi followed her gut and visited other doctors until she got the diagnosis she suspected all along: breast cancer. Pulling up her bootstraps and telling herself she would kick its ass, Mandi went through four rounds of chemotherapy, a mastectomy, and reconstructive surgery. Today, Mandi is pregnant with her second child—something she thought wouldn’t be possible after chemo—and continues to teach and manage at CycleBar Sarasota while actively engaging with her community to fundraise toward finding a cure.
Go Early and Go Often: Jaclyn Alternwein
A longtime dancer-turned-cycling-instructor, Jaclyn’s world was shaken when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Not long after, one of her best friends received the same diagnosis—and another friend after that. After being surrounded by the disease for four years, Jaclyn made the commitment to get yearly mammograms—and within the past year, she and her sister both received their own diagnoses. Undergoing a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery this past spring, Jaclyn considers herself “a best-case scenario,” having found the cancerous cells at stage 0. Now in her 40s, she recently got back in the saddle and is determined to use the power of group fitness to create dynamic fundraising events for breast cancer research.