Cancer survivors halfway through inaugural fitness program

We’re continuing to follow the inaugural Evoke Warriors Program, a lifestyle and wellness plan for local cancer survivors.
Published: Jul. 2, 2021 at 9:14 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Pushing through the pain and striving towards a healthier lifestyle. KOLO 8 News Now is continuing to follow the inaugural Evoke Warriors Program, a lifestyle and wellness plan for local cancer survivors.

It’s been almost 90 days since we introduced you to Kerry Kelly and Ed Heywood and the progress speaks for itself.

“I haven’t run in five years so to be running again is a sure joy because I didn’t know if I’d ever really run again,” Heywood explains. The prostate cancer survivor is down 6 pounds and has logged a 16 percent reduction in body fat. He says he owes it to himself, “I didn’t like the road I was going down. I didn’t like aging...and we all age but I didn’t like how aging was winning.”

“I couldn’t get out of the bed to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night and just the physical activity and nourishing my body with the correct foods has been so helpful,” Kelly details how stiff her body was during chemotherapy. She was 29 when she received her breast cancer diagnosis. Her latest stats show 12 percent less body fat and almost 11 inches gone overall. Every Evoke Warrior either has or is currently battling cancer. As happy as they are when looking in the mirror, it’s the mental and emotional components that are truly helping change their lives.

Kelly describes the battles she faced mentally while also raising a new baby. “You’re in that little dark hole and really what I needed was someone to climb in that dark hole with me and hang out for a little while just because the toxic positivity was a little oh you’ll be fine, you’ll be great, you’ll be good but I’m not fine right now and I need some support.”

The coaches are all specially trained in cancer rehabilitation and the program also includes meal planning and life coach sessions. Heywood is the only man participating, telling us, “The rest of the team is women but what all of them have been through...unbelievable so I feel blessed. It changes from a program to a team, you feel like you’re on a team again, the support for one another.”

Every pass, every ab workout is a huge help in reducing the risk of cancer returning. We are witnessing a collective transformation from the inside out.

With about 12 weeks left, the group will be celebrated on Saturday, September 11 amongst their family and friends. There’s limited seating, but our cameras plan to document their final weigh-in and reveal.

This fitness program costs the participants absolutely nothing, but the gym is in need of community donations and sponsors to host more cancer survivors in the future.

To donate or learn more head to

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