Survivor-Athlete Spotlight: Sue Zalewski

Survivor-Athlete Spotlight: Sue Zalewski

Sue Zalewski, pictured above along with her Concept2 rowing ergometer, has participated in just about every ST&BF activity we have offered since she first got involved in Survive, Thrive & Be Fit including the Indoor Row Group (and, as you can see from the next article, she is also an “Active Survivor of Sheboygan (A.S.S.))!.

Although our Indoor Row Group (IRG) is currently in the “off season” (the 2022/23 season runs from November 1st, 2022 through April 30th, 2023), I recently reached out to current IRG rowers and invited them to share a bit of their involvement with the Indoor Row Group for this Update with the hopes that their stories may attract a few more team members for the upcoming season.

I was especially pleased when I received this story from Sue along with the admission from her that “It was therapeutic for me to write.” 😊

Sue Zalewski – Indoor Row Group Member

In October of 2017 I started having a vision problem in one of my eyes. I was told I had a macular hole which required surgery. The surgery was scheduled for November 1st. In the meantime, I had an annual mammogram. On October 31st I was told I had breast cancer. Because I needed to have additional tests for the cancer, I postponed the eye surgery to right before Christmas. After the surgery I spent 8 days looking at the floor so my eye would heal properly. Several weeks later I started the first of twelve rounds of chemo. One month of radiation followed.

Throughout this process I lost a lot of muscle mass. I never was athletic, but now I was feeling like a limp doll. I heart about the Survive, Thrive & Be Fit group and decided to give rowing a try. I was hooked! Tim’s rowing sessions gave me a chance to get active while enjoying the company of other survivors. I am happy to say I have made many new friends because of the rowing sessions.

To date I have rowed 2,417,904 meters. I achieved the million mark in spring of 2019, about 1 ½ years after beginning to row with Tim’s group. Achieving that milestone gave me a sense of pride, and I don’t want that feeling to end. Being part of the ST&BF team for challenges is very rewarding too.

I love rowing so much that my husband bought me a Concept2 rower for my birthday several years ago. I am so grateful that he did because I was able to continue rowing at home during the pandemic. Now that things have gotten better, I am looking forward to rowing at the clinic so I can see everyone again.

Note From Tim: Congratulations to Sue for all of her accomplishments! Sue is one of twenty-seven survivor-athletes on the ST&BF Indoor Row Group, some more active than others, but few more active than Sue! Thank you Sue for taking the time and having the courage to share parts of your story with us through this Update. Your words and your story are an inspiration to many (including me)! Thank you also to Sue and her husband John for all they do for the ST&BF program and the Local Cancer Community! They are often the first to volunteer and support area cancer patients and survivors and the Sheboygan County Cancer Care Fund!

Watch for similar stories from some of our other Indoor Row Group members in future issues of this Update and watch for Indoor Row Group Introductory & Demo Sessions beginning in the month of September or contact me for details!

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