He Said, She Said: Inspiring Through Cancer

By FHITpro Dennys Lozada + FHIXer (Client) Alyssa Moeder, The Fhitting Room

 

HE SAID

I’ve been asked to speak or write about my past battles with cancer many times, and I’ve never been comfortable doing so. Not simply because I didn’t want to share my own fight but because I would have to discuss a difficult time in my past, when I lost both of my parents to this disease. 

I lost my mother to breast cancer; she wasn’t a part of my life at the time. I didn’t see her get sick, and I wasn’t able to support her. My father also lost his life to cancer; I spent some time with him just before he died, but our time together was limited. I was on my own from a young age, and these losses were very difficult for me and not something I enjoy talking about. I grew up knowing there was a good chance I too would be affected by cancer one day, as both my parents’ cancers were hormonally based.   

Prior to joining The Fhitting Room, I had two bouts with cancer and dealt with my treatments alone or with the support of only a significant other, but never as part of an entire family. I soon realized that my new role at The Fhitting Room not only provided me a job, but also a family, as well as an opportunity to develop meaningful relationships with many incredible clients. Since my early days at The Fhitting Room, I always feel good when an original FHIXer (client) regularly takes my classes, like it’s a sign that I’m doing something right. Alyssa Moeder is one of these originals, who started taking my classes regularly.

Alyssa and I developed a friendship as FHITpro/FHIXer. There was never any mention of my past with cancer; why should there be? Then, I was hit with breast cancer this summer, which is rare in men (although a lot less rare than most think). This was the first time I faced going through cancer treatment and had a “family” around me who loved and supported me. I didn’t want my new family to go through the pain of losing someone important to them like I had, and I confided in my bosses and was determined to fight through this latest cancer diagnosis. 

There were days I’d ride up the elevator at our 67th street studio or fly home from treatments nauseous, exhausted, and feeling awful, then I’d enter the studio and see someone from my FHITfam or a FHIXer smile when they saw me, and I would remember the reason why I needed to fight. I was offered but did not want to take time off; coming to The Fhitting Room, keeping my regular schedule, and seeing my FHITfamily and my clients was part of what kept me going. 

As I was getting better, The Fhitting Room kicked off our #liveFHITtoCure program as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, through which I disclosed my past with cancer. Soon after, Alyssa came to class, and with one look, I knew she was going through a cancer battle of her own. Alyssa and I spoke after that class and our relationship immediately deepened from FHITpro/FHIXer, to two people who quietly inspire and care for each other and truly understand what the other was going through. I always ensure she is okay during class, I give her work area an extra wipe down, and I fully understand her desire to continue working out on the days she feels strong enough throughout the course of difficult treatments. 

My relationship with Alyssa motivated me to open up, not just to tell my story or her story about fighting cancer, but about building perseverance and developing relationships through fitness. We all know fitness has many health benefits, and we often talk about the emotional benefits of fitness, but I’ve experienced first-hand how a relationship built in a fitness studio can develop into one of mutual inspiration, and translate into emotional strength to help take on an incredibly difficult fight. 

 

SHE SAID

When I began coming to The Fhitting Room two years ago, it was life changing for me. Other than playing tennis, I never really exercised. I showed up to my first class in tennis sneakers, and I couldn’t walk for days following. I even brought my own 5 lb dumbbells with me to the first several classes. Before long, I became hooked and then started focusing on nutrition as well. I was in the best shape I’ve ever been in before being diagnosed with breast cancer, and I believe that has made my journey a little easier and will help me beat it. 

Being able to come to classes since starting chemotherapy has been incredibly therapeutic. It makes me feel strong to be able to complete the class, which has been so important to me both mentally and physically. I have to make a conscious effort not to push myself too hard, and the instructors and others in class always motivate me. 

I learned of Dennys’ cancer during The Fhitting Room’s #liveFHITtoCure efforts this October, and his story inspired me to take my first class with him after starting chemo. Since then, he always gives me a big hug and words of encouragement before and after every class. The Fhitting Room is the only place I feel comfortable enough to take off my wig, and I even took a wigless photo (my first) at The Fhitting Room as part of the #liveFHITtoCure Instagram contest. After learning about Dennys’ desire to ride in Cycle for Survival in my honor, I even volunteered to take a wigless photo showing my face — the first to date — as a token of appreciation for the strength and hope Dennys has given me and in an effort to help find ways to cure and prevent this disease, which affects way too many people. 

 

HE SAID:  MY CYCLE FOR SURVIVAL TRIBUTE TO ALYSSA

Every day I'm told that I have inspired and or motivated someone who has taken one of my classes at The Fhitting Room. They tell me it's because I've pushed them to become a better athlete, that their confidence has grown and they feel stronger and more FHIT. But there are others who know my story and battles with cancer, but secretly they do not know that every Saturday I am motivated, inspired, and blessed to have a special warrior in my class who is a ray of shining light. Her name is Alyssa Moeder and she has breast cancer and is currently going through intensive chemotherapy. You would think that with all of this she would want to just rest and stay at home, but no, she is at The Fhitting Room grinding and slinging weights with everyone. Never allowing her condition to be a reason to give up, but a reason to fight and stay strong mentally, physically, and emotionally. I've never actually told her (until now) but she inspires me daily, not just on Saturdays; whenever I'm tired, sore, or just want to stop in a workout, she comes to mind and I push harder. Alyssa you are an inspiration and a fighter and for you I ride.

 

Visit Dennys’ Cycle for Survival fundraising page to learn more, and to contribute to support this incredible friendship between two dedicated survivors, and between survivors everywhere.  

 

 

 

Since he was young, Dennys Lozada has shown perseverance and hard work in all aspects of his life. Being a collegiate football player and a 2-time Golden Gloves winning professional boxer molded Dennys into the hard-working individual he is today. With over 10 years of experience as a Personal Trainer, Dennys loves programming workouts that push you outside of your comfort zone and is committed to the success and growth of every person he trains. Most importantly, Dennys is always working to motivate and inspire others to go out and live their dreams.

Dennys has also worked at Under Armour/IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL and Minneapolis, MN with professional athletes from the Minnesota Twins (MLB), Timberwolves (NBA), Vikings (NFL), and Wild (NHL). Dennys is dedicated to continuing to grow his knowledge of functional fitness and is constantly continuing his certifications across various specialties. When he is not teaching classes or coaching, Dennys enjoys watching football (his favorite college team is the Florida State Seminoles), throwing around weights at a Crossfit box, boxing, and training fighters on strength and conditioning. He’s always been an athlete, so whether it’s playing a game of flag football, softball, or basketball, you will always find him being active and competing.

 

 

Alyssa Moeder is a Managing Director of Wealth Management, Private Wealth Advisor, in the Private Banking & Investment Group, for a top bank in NYC. She has been recognized as one of the Top 100 Women Financial Advisers in Barron’s, a top advisor in New York in Barron’s “America’s Top Advisors: State-by-State," one of the Top 50 Wirehouse Women in Registered Rep Magazine, Top 100 Wirehouse Advisors, as well as one of Financial Times 100 Women Financial Advisers..  Alyssa has appeared on CNBC and has been featured in multiple publications including Barron’s, Worth, Institutional Investor, Corporate Board Member, Working Mother and Town & Country on various topics surrounding personal wealth management.

Alyssa serves on the Board of Directors of the Girl Scout Council of Greater New York and is a Girl Scout Troop Leader for her daughters’ 6th grade and 10th grade troops. She lives in New York City with her husband and their three children.

 

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