Strength in Community

By: Rashanna Moss, Owner, Pure Barre Austin

We all know and understand that we should live an active lifestyle.  We understand that it is good for our health and has several positive effects on our mind, body and soul.  But knowing that doesn’t necessarily translate to consistency in our workout routines.  Life can often get in the way and our health is one of the easiest things to sacrifice when life gets busy. But in a moment’s notice, when our health is truly threatened, we can appreciate the health that we always took for granted. We regret the excuses we allowed in our lives, and we gain perspective on valuing our health and a positive outlook.  I have had the honor of observing others come full circle in this process.

While owning a fitness studio, which is 99.9% female based, Breast Cancer Awareness Month came on my radar in a more personal way than before.  Prior to owning the business, I donated to the cause, but never got fully involved.  I didn’t have family members or friends that were affected, so in a way the issue was a bit foreign and distant for me. Now, as a business owner, I had a platform to market and raise money through our clientele base. It felt right considering who our clients were. So, we did donation classes, dressed in pink…the typical things, right?

Then one day, I found out that one of our clients had just finished treatment. She was always so kind and positive. She was graceful. I had no idea what she was going through. That’s the thing about people with grace – they carry themselves with such elegance and remain so poised, that they become pillars of strength in an almost silent way.  It was how she showed up to me, my staff and the other clients, that even without her fight being known, she made an impact on our community. She was the perfect person to rally behind and bring awareness to this issue.


I spoke with her to find out more about the organization she worked with, Breast Cancer Resource Center. We have been fortunate enough to work with BCRC a few times over the years, and to build a platform to raise money with our incredible client as our mascot. Her willingness to share her story made all the difference in the world, because

  1. clients could put a face with the cause and
  2. because of her character, you couldn’t help but fall in love and want to help.

Through this process and having the opportunity to build a relationship with her, I observed a few things.  The first: a deeper sense of community.  Even clients that didn’t know her personally, felt closer simply because they could share in her story. It brought it closer to home and made them realize how close they were to the issue. They could see themselves in her, so they wanted to help and share their own stories with one another.

Community Becomes Our Support System

We observed this in the studio and it created a common ground between clients – a difference in their connections with one another and what they were sharing through this workout community. It became more profound, more real and more supportive. Community is a huge piece when it comes to our health. Community becomes our support system. We establish a group of friends that expect to see us every day, ready to work and have some fun. They want you next to them because the workout is more enjoyable when you’re in it together. And on the days when it’s hard to get to the barre, they just want their comrades there, so that they can get through the challenge together. That’s community!

Another observation was a silencing of excuses.  When you are working out to support a cause like breast cancer, it provides perspective immediately. You realize that complaining about life being busy, or being too tired, is a trivial excuse when it comes to your health. That perspective shifts your inner compass and allows you to put your head down and do the workout. You find a deeper strength in yourself from realizing that other women are coping with an issue that is much harder than getting to the studio and getting through a workout. So you just do it. Excuses are hard to admit as an adult, especially when we are productive, high functioning individuals. But, we all do it and we need to self-check often to ensure that our health is a high priority on our list. Appreciate the fact that you are healthy and don’t take it for granted. When you rid yourself of the excuses and commit to health, you realize how strong you can be. Your standard shifts and health becomes part of your natural life.

The final observation was the most moving. It’s about excuses as well… BUT its because of the tangible observation of strength. Remember the wonderful woman I mentioned before, who became our mascot and example for clients?  She still attended classes. There are days when I know she didn’t feel well and others where she felt weak or in pain. But she still came. She modified where she needed to, and stayed smart about how much she pushed her body, but she showed up and did the workout in the way that she needed to, for herself. She found that inner power and peace in class, and had the perspective to appreciate what her body could still do. It’s all about perspective. She is the example for creating a community, staying connected to a community, letting go of excuses and not taking health for granted.

How to Maintain Balance and Reduce Stress with an Active Lifestyle

By: Lander Peerman

Lander is the co-owner of Crush Fitness Studio in Austin, TX. She was born and raised in Austin and currently lives in town with her fiancé Noah and her dog Taz.

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Lander and Noah,  co-owners of Crush Fitness.

As the female co-owner of Crush Fitness, that is set to rapidly expand starting early 2017, it’s often hard to find time to balance other aspects of my life, which include international travel with my fiancé (and the other owner of our business), raising a family and remodeling our home all on top of running our business every day. Having a few key “life rules” have helped me immensely during super stressful and busy times:

  1. Balance is key. In everything. Set “work hours” and stick to them. When you’re on, you’re on and then you can enjoy the time you give yourself for other aspects of your life. This is the hardest rule for every entrepreneur I’ve ever met, but I find that if I stick to work hours I am actually more efficient. That’s why its #1 on my list…
  1. Always make time for the ones you love. Pencil them in just like you would any other appointment. Trust me, it can be easy to go months without catching up with some of my closest friends, unless I make a point to schedule our phone chats, coffee dates or  wine nights. The time spent with them can give you new perspectives, more energy and love.

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    Lander Peerman with friends enjoying a wine night.

  1. Taking care of your health is key to maintaining an active and productive lifestyle. On that note, book your workouts in your schedule ahead of time and stick to them. You wouldn’t not show up to an important job meeting…so why not show up to your workouts? Find a new class or studio in town and make it a consistent routine so it becomes part of your schedule. When I do that I find myself looking forward to my workout time and making it a priority.
  1. Travel. See other cultures, places, meet new people. I have also had huge personal revelations while traveling abroad. It makes you focus on what’s most important in your day to day life. Getting out of your day-to-day and seeing other parts of the city, state, country or even world can also allow for inspiration and ideas to bring back to your normal routine.
  1. Be true to yourself. If you hate your job, change it. If you are in a bad relationship, get out. Life is too short. There are too many goals to be accomplished, places to see, relationships to make. People make things pretty darn complicated, when in fact the answer is usually right in front of them. Don’t live your life with fear. Just take a deep breath, put one foot in front of the other and never look back.
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Lander Peerman, co-owner of Crush Fitness.

 

We’re not one to get lost in a crowd of Pink

Don’t get lost. Get your mammogram.

Early detection plays a key role in saving lives by making it easier to treat and cure breast cancer. This is why Komen Austin highly encourages screening through mammograms and clinical breast exams. Unfortunately, we know that barriers to care, such as lack of insurance and access to transportation or services can prevent women from receiving important health services.

Komen Austin recognizes this need and is funding a Mobile Mammography program to provide free screening services to uninsured women. Along with support from the Alliance for African American Health in Central Texas, Community Action, and Seton Healthcare Family, Komen Austin is making sure rural communities that lack medical resources such as Bastrop and Caldwell Counties can access care by bringing services directly to them. So far, we have had four successful screening days in Bastrop and Luling with far more participants than expected!

If you are interested in taking advantage of this opportunity, new screening dates are being planned for November.  Email Marva Overton for more information at: marva.overton@aaahct.org

To schedule an appointment, call (512) 324 – 3375. For those who honor their appointment, a surprise gift will await you!

We hope to see you there!

Be More Than Pink! Donate today at komenaustin.org/race

Thank You to Our Volunteers!

By: Suzanne Stone, executive director

On a rainy, muggy Sunday in September you all did something incredible.

You handed out t-shirts, waters, bananas. Cheered on survivors, hung banners and helped people take pictures of their groups. You blew up balloons, petted baby animals, took out trash – all because you believe in the same cause. Because you know that sometimes, PINK isn’t always as pretty as it sounds. Sometimes it takes getting your hands dirty, rolling up your sleeves and hugging a total stranger.

On Sunday you saved lives.  There’s really no doubt about it. However small or big your responsibility may have been, you were a VERY important part of raising $235,896. And we are just getting started! Fundraising is just beginning and we have until November 15th to raise another $360,000 to make sure each and every woman in our 5 county area has access to the breast health services she needs.

Thank you for all you have done.

For all you continue to do and your commitment to Komen Austin.

 With you, we are MORE THAN PINK!

Continue the fundraising. You have until November 15th.

Suzanne Stone

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My battle with breast cancer and finding my Daily Greens

By: Shauna Martin

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Shauna Martin, Daily Greens CEO

I vividly recall sitting on the floor of my shower with water and tears streaming down my face trying to figure it all out. I could not stop thinking . . . why? Why me? What did I do wrong? On July 28, 2005, my son’s first birthday, I had been diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of thirty-three.  My life was flashing before my eyes, as I struggled with the question of whether I was ready to die or not.

It did not take me long to conclude, that I was in fact not ready to die. 

I had a young child to live for! I knew I had to muster the strength to get out of the shower and take care of my family, but 9 months of chemotherapy and a year of surgeries to first remove my breasts and then reconstruct them had left me weak, bald and hopeless.  After all that I had been through my doctors told me I still had up to a 40% chance of a recurrence. I thought, how could that possibly be, after everything I had done to fight my cancer over the past two years?  I knew one thing for sure, I had to stay alive for my son, so I resolved to get up off the shower floor and do something about it.


I had heard that food could have powerful healing attributes, so I decided to investigate. I read everything I could get my hands on, and my journey lead me to understand that a plant-based diet filled with raw vegetables could not only help detox my body from all the toxins from my breast cancer treatment, but it could also potentially prevent a recurrence of my breast cancer. I was so excited to finally find something that would be under my control, so I went for it.

I read that the most efficient way to consume raw veggies was to juice them, so I ordered my first juicer and started making a green juice every day. The effects were immediate and undeniable. I immediately started to regain my energy and my former stamina. My hair grew back quickly, my skin and eyes started to glow.  I was blown away, so I studied further and determined that the right thing for me was to move to a fully plant-based diet.  This took several years of slowly eliminating animal protein from my diet, but when I finally got there the result was amazing. I am still fully vegan and plant based, 10 years later, and it enables me to be the best version of myself each and every day.

I was so enthusiastic about my newfound fountain of youth that I could not contain myself and started to evangelize my friends and family about the benefits of drinking a daily green juice and eating a more plant-based diet.  I had many converts over the years, but after several months most would put away their juicer and conclude that it was just too difficult to do on a daily basis.  I realized that if I was going to get folks to stick to a regime of drinking a daily green juice I was going to have to make it for them.

So after practicing corporate law for 18 years, I set out to research the technology needed to produce cold-pressed green juice on a massive scale. My mission and vision was to get a green juice into the hands of every American every single day.


At midnight one Friday night in December 2012 I made 60 bottles of green juice with the help of my cousin, and early the next morning I took it to the farmer’s market. It was a massive hit, and Daily Greens was born. Today, just 3 and a half years later, Daily Greens is nationally distributed in over 3,000 retail outlets in not only Whole Foods, Costco, Safeway, Kroger’s, Sprouts, but in dozens of other regional and independent retailers as well.

Shauna with juiceWhile I am so proud of everything that Daily Greens has accomplished, I am not about to forget my roots and the struggle that lead me to this place. Since inception, Daily Greens has donated 1% percent of sales directly to organizations like Komen Austin that provide support and services to young women battling breast cancer.

Eleven years later, I now know the answer to the “Why?”

I was meant to go on my breast cancer journey and struggle so that I could help bring a message of health and hope to America!

5 Things to Remember When You’re Training for Race Day

Congratulations for registering for a 5k! Still haven’t registered for Komen’s 18th Annual Race for the Cure yet? Look no further and visit our website. 

Signing up for any race can be daunting, especially if it’s your first time running. Training in advance guarantees success for your first race. Here are five tips to keep in mind during your training. Good Luck and Go Pink!

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1. Find a community of runners

Running with another person is a great way to hold each other accountable for staying on track with your running schedule. Register with a friend so that you both are working toward a similar goal. Everyone runs at a different pace and trains differently, so make sure to find people that have a similar experience level as you and will keep you motivated throughout your training.

2. Make a plan: look up training schedules, be consistent with your training schedule

If this is your first 5k, it is especially important that you find the right training schedule. Hundreds of schedules are posted online and easy to find. Find one that you and your running buddy can commit to. For beginners, it’s important to start with walks and then gradually add short runs into your program. This will allow you to build your endurance and establish your pace. Print some copies of your running schedule and place it on your refrigerator, office space and bathroom mirror. I really like to have it as my phone screensaver so that my run is always on my mind.

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3. Find the perfect Race day outfit

A good pair of shoes is crucial for training and Race day. If you plan on buying a new pair of kicks, make sure to give yourself at least three weeks to break them in. Find an outfit that incorporates as much pink as possible and that you are comfortable running in. The more pink the better!

4. Make time for rest and cross training

As your body is adjusting to routine runs, it needs time to recover as well. Take advantage of the given rest days in your schedule. It’s also important to make room for other workouts throughout your training. Incorporating additional exercises will build up the muscle strength to prevent any injuries during runs.

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5. Positive thinking

Mental health can be just as important as physical health. During training, practice having a positive mindset throughout your run. When I start to feel the most tired, I visualize crossing the finish line and taking my triumphant picture holding my medal. I also like to think about the reason I am running. For Race for the Cure, I think about the struggle that people have gone through in their lives along with the pain they endured and how the pain of running right now does not compare to what they went through. A positive mindset has been proven to improve performance.

Best of luck on your 5k and thanks for registering to help end breast cancer forever.

Yours truly,

Laura Saker, Komen Austin Communications Intern

The Power of Pink

By: Suzanne Stone

You wouldn’t think that color could change everything. That a simple shade of light would be able to inspire action, enlighten the mind, even save a life. But it does, every day. In just the past couple of weeks I’ve replaced my white front porch light with a blue one to show my support for our officers and tied black and red ribbons on my trees in remembrance of a father and son who lived just down the street but lost their lives to terror in another country. Color can stir emotion, thought, can change a mood and symbolize so much.


A few months ago I needed new running shoes. As I shopped the shelf of shoes in the sports store it was painfully obvious my choices were slim. Neon colors and bright stripes dominate the women’s athletic shoe market. Not sure why we can’t just get a simple white and black running shoe, but it seems the running shoe designers of the world have a different opinion of what we should be wearing on our 6:00 a.m. runs. Faced with a choice of bright and brighter, I opted for bright pink. A solid and strong deep bright reflective pink.  Little did I know at that moment that it would be a small sign of things to come.

Today as I end my second week as the Executive Director of Komen Austin, pink has become not just the color of my running shoes, but the driving force for my every day decisions. Our pink “running ribbon” isn’t just a logo.  It’s a symbol of strength, perseverance, survival, and the vision of a world without breast cancer.  It has become such a powerful and recognizable symbol and color. I would be surprised if you could find many who don’t immediately associate pink with Komen, breast cancer, and a person in their lives who has been touched by it.

Komen Austin embraces pink and empowers outreach organizations in our 5 county area to change the lives of the people who live in them. A woman who gets a mammogram free of charge, a patient who receives help navigating the complex world of her cancer care, a co-survivor who finds comfort in a group of people where he finds out he’s not the only one – all made possible because the power of pink, a simple color, inspired someone to give a dollar.


Tomorrow morning, I plan to put on my pink running shoes and show the sunrise I mean business. Maybe I will solve that problem that’s had me stumped. Or come up with a new idea for outreach and education. Perhaps I’ll just feel better. Regardless of the outcome, my pink shoes will carry me, inspire me and most importantly remind me of the struggle too many women are facing.

Join me. Go grab those running shoes, walking shoes, hiking shoes, river shoes or high heeled shoes and let’s get to work to make the color pink a color of celebration and a reminder of a time when breast cancer was something we still had to fight. Put aside a dollar for every mile you run, every step you take or hill you climb, donate it to Komen Austin and watch lives change. All because of a color.

The Importance of Men’s Health

By: Paul Carrozza

Men’s Health. What does it mean anyway?  I have been an athlete and runner my entire life.  Does that make me healthy? Well, that’s not the only measurement of good health. I have been working on my health my entire life. I take vitamins, eat organic foods, stay away from processed foods, and avoid fried foods.  As I have aged, my food choices have continued to change.  I eat less sugar, less dairy, less red meat, less white meat. With these changes, I feel better and better. So, I do more than just run for fun and exercise.

Being healthy is being without disease… Disease is just that…Dis… Ease…  Annual Check-ups can eliminate or identify the “diseases” that need to be addressed. If you are clear of no disease, and little else is bothering you, are you still healthy?

On the surface, I say if you are at your ideal body weight, have normal bone density, normal blood pressure, no depression, good cholesterol levels, good muscle mass, no tightness, and are in good enough condition to to out and enjoy the recreational activities you love, then you are probably pretty healthy.

What keeps us from being healthy or in optimum health? It’s the modern lifestyle we live!  No physical activity, minimal time in the sun, minimal time in nature, minimal sweating, passive transportation, too many processed foods, weak and tight muscles, we’re overweight, deconditioned from heat, sun and strenuous activity.  So what’s the outcome of this modern, unhealthy lifestyle?  Disease.  Or, Dis…Ease.

Other things that contribute to your Dis…Ease are low testosterone levels, low self-esteem or just not feeling great about yourself. Being stuck in a rut – the same old thing every day, and you aren’t sure how to get out of it.  Believe it or not, exercise isn’t the answer for everyone.

The answer to good health is finding things that you are passionate doing and preparing for them. The annual climb to a fourteener in Colorado, hiking the Grand Canyon, running a marathon, doing a triathlon, playing in a recreation sports league, or finding a professional coach or trainer to assist you with your passion.  Or, maybe join a team of others who share your passion, and head out on the journey of a lifetime to optimum health.

So, discover the one thing that you would love to do. The one thing you can be passionate about and get yourself out and DO IT! One way to discover what you like to do is to remember what you did with your free time when you were five, seven or ten years old. Maybe those years bring back activities you enjoyed.

My advice for good men’s health is to live life through motion and in the great outdoors. When you find your weekend passion, your days and weeks will have purpose and you will find a path to good health that fits your own passion and lifestyle.


The most common sign of breast cancer in men is a painless lump or thickening in the breast or chest area.  This Father’s Day, talk to the men in your lives about the importance of taking care of their health.

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Paul Carrozza

Paul Carrozza, an Austin running specialist, has coached thousands of runners, non-profit organizations and entrepreneurs over the years. He is most proud of RunTex, being a place where people could come together to achieve their goals.

Paul is committed to developing superior programs and events that contribute to the economic growth in the community and help increase the quality of life in the greater Austin area. The Austin Running Community is a testament to Paul’s passion for providing access for healthy living to the entire community.

Paul is co-founder of the Marathon Kids Program, which successfully helps over 500,000 children per year learn the joy of running. He served two terms on the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports during the George W. Bush Administration, is the Co-Chair for the Governor’s Advisory Council on Physical Activity, the Co-Founder and former Chair of the Austin Mayor’s Fitness Council, served on the EMS Board, Texas Medical Board District Review Committee, and he is the founder of Shoes For Austin.

Paul is the Cross Country and Track Coach at St. Stephen’s School and the Interim Executive Director of Boneshaker Project.  He coaches small groups from middle school to mature adults who want to have their mind, body and spirit prepared for a full active, purposeful life.