Fitness Instructor Bounces Back After Breast Cancer


STROUDSBURG, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – March is National Women’s Month, a time to celebrate the achievements of local women.

Tonight, an area fitness instructor is sharing how she was forced to start from scratch after an intense battle with breast cancer. Yet, she bounced back better and stronger than before. 

You’ll find Nanci DeSousa training in the gym six days a week. But her strength is more than just physical.

Like many women, Nanci gained a lot of weight while pregnant. After giving birth eight years ago, she became a fitness fanatic. 

“I was on a journey to lose weight,” Nanci DeSousa of Mountain Top recalls. 

With the support of her husband, Nanci fulfilled her longtime dream of becoming a fitness instructor, and even opened her own studio in Mountain Top.

Life was good, until… “I was diagnosed with breast cancer,” she says. 

At 40-years-old, Nanci was forced to put fitness and all she had accomplished aside to prepare for a double mastectomy with reconstruction. She adds, “it was several surgeries.”

Unable to exercise, she fell back into her old, unhealthy eating habits. The pounds packed back on. 

“Because I was depressed,” she adds. 

Eventually, Nanci started working out again little by little. She even decided to dive into body building and fitness competitions. 

“My husband actually said to me, ‘why not at this point, you know? Why not try?’,” she recalls. 

The spark was reignited.

Nanci solicited the help of Scott Schweinfurth, owner of Transform Personal Training. 

“I loved her story, so I remember being very busy at the time too, but I took her on,” says Scott Schweinfurth, owner, Transform Personal Training. 

Right now, Scott is helping Nanci prep for her second show. “I love the fact that I can play a small part in changing someone’s life for the better,” Schweinfurth adds. 

Nanci wants to motivate other women to feel good about themselves, too. She says it starts with working out and eating right. “And then once you start to see the results, it’s just like magic,” she smiles.

Today, Nanci is cancer free. And she’s back in shape, although the journey wasn’t easy. 

“But it’s very rewarding once you finally get to the end. And you mold your body into what you want,” she explains.

A reminder to never give up on your goals, no matter how life ‘weighs you down’. 

Nanci also wants to remind women that early detection and routine mamograms are key. 

If you have little to no gym experience but want to start leading a healthier lifestyle, Scott suggests hiring a personal trainer to customize a meal plan and exercise routine tailored to you. 

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