Bodybuilder Candace Lord works to overpower breast cancer

  • Candace Lord, owner of Integrated Fitness in Dover Point just bought a gym while she fights cancer and trains to compete in the next challenge in a Spartan run. Her positive attitude and strength both physically and mentally are an inspiration. [Deb Cram/Fosters.com] Deb Cram

  • Candace Lord, owner of Integrated Fitness in Dover Point shows off muscles she has gained and talks about upcoming competitions despite her fighting cancer and just buying a gym she's trying to build clientelle for. [Deb Cram/Fosters.com] Deb Cram

  • Candace Lord, owner of Integrated Fitness in Dover Point has an amazingly strong and inspirational attitude while she fights cancer, grow her gym and continue to train for competitions. The photo behind her is before she got cancer and training for body building contests. Deb Cram / Foster’s Daily Democrat

  • Candace Lord, owner of Integrated Fitness in Dover Point has an amazinly positive and inspirational attitude while she fights cancer, grow her gym and continue to train for competitions. Her sense of humor and tell it like it is communication is powerful.[Deb Cram/Fosters.com] Deb Cram

  • Candace Lord, owner of Integrated Fitness in Dover Point just bought a gym while she fights cancer and trains to compete in the next challenge in a Spartan run. Her positive attitude and strength both physically and mentally are an inspiration.[Deb Cram/Fosters.com] Deb Cram

Foster’s Daily Democrat
Published: 9/19/2019 6:27:07 PM
Modified: 9/19/2019 6:26:55 PM

Candace Lord is no stranger to pushing and inspiring people. Just not like this.

In May, the 35-year-old trainer was diagnosed with stage 2A breast cancer. But it didn’t slow her down as she purchased Integrated Fitness in Dover, prepped for her next powerlifting and professional physique competitions, or trained for Spartan races.

“What are you going to do? Roll over and die?” said Lord, a 5-foot-2-inch powerhouse who holds several deadlift, squat and bench press titles in New Hampshire and Vermont. “I don’t have time for that. ... I just refuse to lay down.”

It didn’t take long for others to notice Lord and her bald head as she began participating in Spartan race events and posting her training videos in fitness-focused social media groups.

Her positive outlook and intense competitive drive have since spread like wildfire with athletes and cancer survivors in the region.

For Lord, the outpouring of support is unexpected. The lifelong athlete and longtime trainer is more often the motivator and hype woman than the person on the receiving end.

“People keep telling me how much I inspire them,” said Lord, who was first featured in Foster’s Daily Democrat last September in “Small but mighty,” a story on how she powerlifts with her husband Jim Materkowski, her 61-year-old mother Liz Dorsett, her son Damian, 12, and her daughter Gabriela, 11. “I never thought in a million years I would be inspirational to people. I still don’t feel like I’m doing anything special. I’m just working out. I’m just working out.”

Lord is using the attention to raise awareness about the difference healthy eating and living habits can make, particularly for people fighting cancer.

She hasn’t dropped a pound during her multiple rounds of chemo, nor has she experienced any of the common symptoms beyond hair loss, occasional fatigue and a little appetite loss. While acknowledging herself as lucky, Lord said she and her doctors attribute her limited symptoms to the anti-inflammatory diet she uses for her powerlifting and bodybuilding, as well as her other regular efforts to stay strong and fit.

“A lot of people are going to get cancer,” said Lord. “Right now, it’s 1 in 3. By 2035, they say half of the population is going to get cancer at some point in their life. It’s not about not getting cancer or not getting sick. It’s about how your body’s going to handle it when you do get sick, because we’re all going to get sick, we’re all going to age.

“It’s important to take care of yourself because if you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of anyone else.”

That’s not to say it’s been easy, though.

“For some people, it’s easy,” Lord said, referring to the strict nutritional self-discipline needed to be a competitive bodybuilder or powerlifter. “Every step of it is misery for me. Every step of it. I hate dieting, but when you wake up and look in the mirror, you’re like, ‘Damn,’ and that’s a little bit more motivation. But it’s hard.”

Lord heavily credits her husband for noticing the two-centimeter lump in her breast this spring. He pushed her to quickly get examined and begin treatment.

“I’m glad I listened to him,” she said. “I was like, ‘Yeah whatever. It’s a lump. Boobs have lumps.’ You’ve got glands and all kinds of stuff in there and your body fluctuates through the month and things change. And I’m like, ‘Yeah, no big deal.’ But he was like, ‘No, you’re calling and you’re calling now.’ ”

Just 20 days later, Lord had surgery. She said she’s halfway through her chemo regimen now, after which she’ll begin radiation and close monitoring to ensure her cancer doesn’t return.

Lord said she’s as ready as she can be for the treatments and will continue her strength maintenance through them. She recently finished a growth cycle to build muscle for competitions, and she’s confident her treatments won’t stop her from starting to cut at least 20 pounds of fat from her slight frame this November in order to be ready to compete professionally next March and April.

“But until then, I’m just going to eat pizza,” Lord said, laughing.




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