October marks the start of Breast Cancer Awareness month. Each year, this terrible disease is brought to the forefront of our minds with various fundraising opportunities to help find a cure. Yet, sadly we are still awaiting one. About 1 in 8 women, and about 1 in every 1,000 men, will develop breast cancer over the course of their lifetime.It is a disease that not only affects the lives of those afflicted, but their loved ones as well. The good news is that there is hope.

This hope can come in the form of great organizations like Padres Pedal the Cause that fundraise for cancer research. This year marks the third consecutive year that LA Fitness will support Padres Pedal the Cause by helping to fundraise for its efforts. 100% of Padres Pedal the Cause’s donations fund cancer research projects, including research relating to breast cancer. To help aid the efforts of Padres Pedal the Cause, LA Fitness has designed a few specialty t-shirts (the LA Fitness Shop Pink Shirts) in honor of the event. LA Fitness will donate a portion of the proceeds from the sales of the LA Fitness Shop Pink Shirts to Padres Pedal the Cause.* Make sure to order your limited edition LA Fitness Shop Pink Shirt today before they sell out!

Additionally, if you are an active cyclist or cycle enthusiast, and want to pedal your way to making a difference, Padres Pedal the Cause is hosting a special event from November 11-12th in San Diego. If you would like to get involved, here’s how:

  1. Register as a rider. There are a variety of options, spanning between 5 – 150 miles. The Saturday route even includes a ride over the Coronado Bridge (hope you’re not afraid of heights!)
  2. Register as a stationary rider. This option involves stationary bike classes right on the field at Petco Park! The classes range in time from 1 to 4 hours.
  3. Register as a virtual rider (sounds pretty futuristic, right?) This is perfect if you still want to donate to the cause, but you are unable to participate in person on the event weekend.
  4. Purchase a LA Fitness Shop Pink Shirt here!
  5. Volunteer. Find out how here.

An interview with Ilke E.W.

In order to help learn a bit more about breast cancer and the effect it has on the body, we interviewed LA Fitness Group Fitness instructor, Ilke E.W., who helped explain what her battle with breast cancer was like. (You may recognize Ilke from our previous article this year!)

Q: When were you diagnosed with breast cancer?

Ilke E.W.: First time in 2005. Second time in 2011.

Q: How was the cancer detected? What led up to you going to have it checked out?

I.E.W.: First time I felt a lump in self-examination. My mammogram was clear a few months prior. I had young kids. Second time around I caught it via MMR that I insisted having. The second one was caught at stage 1.

Q: How did you feel when you initially received the news?

I.E.W.: I heard it during my doctor’s visit after biopsy. I felt kind of lost and confused. I was young. I did not smoke. I ate well. I had two kids that I breastfed. I exercised. This was not supposed to happen to me.

Q: Did you have a good support network as you were fighting through it?

I.E.W.: Not at the beginning. I was busy dealing with surgery followed by chemotherapy. Saint Joseph Hospital had a lot of workshops and help groups. I did not attend during my second cancer episode. I had support since I got to know a lot of people in the cancer circuit. I got involved with American Cancer Society and became their high roller fundraiser. I still do fundraising for cancer patients using Zumba®.

Q: Did you use any services or programs to help you through the treatment process?

I.E.W.: I got referrals for wigs from organizations. I got an expensive wig. My chocolate lab was very fond of it and I could not rescue it from her. I ended up using baseball caps with scarfs.

Q: What was your biggest obstacle while undergoing treatment?

I.E.W.: I had complications with surgery. I did not take time off from my full time work. Juggling hospital and doctors’ visits with work was very challenging.

Q: What would you like others to know about breast cancer, who may not know much about this disease?

I.E.W.: Do self-exams. Be your own advocate. Do not take everything your doctor tells you for granted. Understand your treatment and the medications you are taking along with their side effects, complications and their aftermath. Read and read and talk to other patients. Eat well and be knowledgeable about exercise and nutrition. And relax. Breast cancer is treatable and is not a life sentence. Do not freak out. My doctor advised me to do lumpectomy followed by radiation second time around. I opted for radical mastectomy instead.

Q: As a group fitness instructor for LA Fitness, did you find it hard keeping active during treatment?

I.E.W.: I was active during treatment. You do not have energy but you can manage. Reduce your load but do not stop exercising and/or teaching fitness.

Q: What advice would you give to women, and men, battling breast cancer?

I.E.W.: Surround yourself with positive energy. Cut out relationships that are toxic. Do not fall into “poor me” mode.

Q: What advice would you give friends and family of those battling through this disease?

I.E.W.: Ask for help and accept it. Let people help you out.

*Padres Pedal the Cause contributes 100% of all donations toward cancer research projects. To learn more about Padres Pedal the Cause and its cancer research initiatives, click here.  Proceeds donated to Padres Pedal the Cause exclude amounts charged for shipping & handling and sales tax. An amount representing credit card processing fees and the costs incurred by Pinpoint Marketing Group, Inc. (“Pinpoint”) to produce the LA Fitness Shop Pink Shirts shall be excluded from the donation to Padres Pedal the Cause; such amounts shall be retained by Pinpoint and not donated. The responses above reflect the opinions of the interviewee and do not in any way reflect the position of Fitness International, LLC or its affiliates. This article is not meant to be construed as medical advice. Consult with your doctor if you have a health issue or if you are considering beginning a new fitness regimen.


  1. “U.S. Breast Cancer Statistics.” Breastcancer.org, www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/understand_bc/statistics.

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