Fighting back at cancer with kickboxing

On the Road: Fighting cancer with kickboxing

The music pulsated throughout the building as Shawn Becklund’s encouraging voice boomed through the speakers.

“You better be punching like a girl!” she shouted to a room full of kickboxers. “Left! Right!”

Just a few months removed from lying in a hospital bed receiving chemotherapy treatments, Becklund, a mother of two, is trying to “combat cancer for good”.

“She’s a fighter,” said class member Tammy Jacovides. “She’s perfect for the combat classes. She’s a fighter.”

After class, sweaty and breathing heavily, Becklund smiled as she tossed her newly grown-back hair.

“August 13, 2015,” she said. “You never forget the day you are diagnosed.”

She was diagnosed with breast cancer after finding three lumps in her breast. She endured 16 rounds of chemotherapy and 29 sessions of radiation.

“I lost all my hair and within a few weeks it started coming out in clumps,” she said.

A bald Becklund lost some energy but never lost her high spirits. She continued to show up to workouts. She was determined to show everyone that she was a fighter who would win her battle. The women in her classes pushed her on.

“My mother has died of cancer. My sister has died of cancer. My first cousin, Mel, just died a month ago,” said Jacovides. “(Shawn) is strong.”

One in eight women will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. Becklund’s goal is to help others who are dealing with the terrors of the diagnosis she faced in 2015. Last year she hosted a fundraising kickboxing class and raised $2,000 to donate. She’ll attempt to top that amount this weekend at the Fitness 360 – Clearwater location, Saturday, October 21 at 9:30 a.m. The kickboxing classes will be free. You don’t have to be a member of the gym to attend. Vendors will be set up and participants are encouraged to make donations to breast cancer research. All the money collected will be donated to the Cakes To Cure Foundation.

It’s Becklund’s hope that she can make a difference in the lives of others facing their own cancer battle.

“I’ve lost several friends to different cancers and just the past couple of weeks I have two other friends who have just come to me and messages me that they have breast cancer,” she said. “They have been diagnosed. That’s scary but that’s my mission now.”

The Fitness 360 is located at 1580 N McMullen Booth Rd, Clearwater, FL 33759.

For more Bobby Lewis on the Road feature stories, click here

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