Member Spotlight: Evie Brouwer


Evie web small

It seems over the years, more and more of us know of more and more people who’ve heard their doctor tell them, “Yes, it’s cancer.”  And some of us have received that diagnosis ourselves.  For those of us who’ve not encountered cancer on a personal level, trying to imagine how we’d feel and how we’d respond to such a diagnosis can leave us bewildered.  About a year ago, Evie Brouwer, AMFC member and FitKids staffer heard, “Yes, it’s cancer” and the journey began turning her life inside-out and upside-down.

Along the path of healing, she learned that she needed a fierce resolve about creating boundaries and speaking up for herself.  Family and friends didn’t necessarily know what to do to be supportive and she didn’t always have the energy to educate them about it, or the emotional strength to lift them up and calm their fears. She discovered that even when working with the best doctors and care providers, it requires strength, awareness and conficence to say “no” sometimes, to question why, or to lobby for yourself when what you feel you need falls outside standard process.

Also, she rejects the theory that life from here on out should be defined as “before cancer” and “after cancer”.  She doesn’t buy the idea that cancer defines who she is or how the rest of her life will unfold. “It’s just another knot in the rope of my life,” explains Evie.

Still, it’s been a guantlet; she’s glad to be past the depths of treatment and into remission, but the transition isn’t yet over and it still presents challenges on multiple levels of life.  Evie says that Avera McKennan Fitness Center – expescially Karri Stearns and Glenda Baker with the Cancer Fitness Program – have been and continue to be a bright, healing resource.  An active schedule, including a variety of exercise modes, has always been a fundamental part of her day-to-day life.  Over this last year, the Fitness Center community, its facilities and the Cancer Fitness Program helped her keep strength, endurance and continuity, to relax and unwind and to feel better.

We’re thankful that Evie is part of the Avera McKennan Fitness Center community, as a member and on staff and glad that the staff, programs and facilities support her personal commitment to health and wellness.

For more information on cancer support through Avera, click here.

For more information on AMFC’s Cancer Fitness Program, click here.