Featured STRONGCamper: Katie Burbage
STRONGCAMP: Wetumpka, AL
In September 2018 Katie was diagnosed with metastatic chondrosarcoma. It started with a tumor in her pelvis. The cancer was fast growing and had spread to her lungs and spine. She started chemotherapy right away, and after five rounds of intense chemotherapy she had a Hemipelvictomy, also known as a pelvic resection. This surgery consisted of the removal of her left Ilium and was replaced with the small bone (Fibula) from her leg for stability. After surgery, she had to learn to walk again. Katie went to physical therapy and used a walker post-op for four months, then transitioned to a cane, which she used for another three months. Today, she is one year in remission, and has recovered from her surgery with very few limitations!
What was your favorite thing about STRONGCAMP?
I loved being a part of a group of ladies who encouraged and supported each other without any reservations. There was a plank challenge to raise money for a family whose child has muscular dystrophy. Minute after minute I witnessed ladies, of all ages hold their plank and fight against muscle fatigue. Meanwhile, the rest of us were cheering them on. Every minute that passed emotions grew. After 15 minutes there wasn’t a dry eye in the room! It was an amazing experience and I’m thankful I was there to witness it.
Did you discover anything new about yourself through STRONGCAMP?
Physically, I am not as strong as I was before my surgery. I have some limitations with movements in my left leg. It’s weaker, and I fear falling and hurting my hip and the reconstruction. I don’t run or jump and I modify my workouts to work on training those muscle to work like before. Among the activities at STRONGCAMP, there was an obstacle course that consisted of many activities I would normally take my time with to prevent injury. I started the race with caution, but it quickly turned into a race I won’t forget. I felt so strong as I made my way to each obstacle. I ran a grid, I jumped roped, and ran as fast as I could back to the starting line. I did all this with the encouragement of the other ladies cheering me on. I could hear friends shouting how great I was doing which made me work even harder. I felt like my old self again. It was a proud moment for me. I’ve come a long way from having to learn to walk again to running that obstacle course with courage!
What has been your biggest takeaway from attending STRONGCAMP?
I spent the weekend with a great group of ladies. We laughed and we cried! Getting to know them better and growing our friendships was special to me. I left with a feeling of joy, and excitement of what my next level can be!