June 25th, 2010
10:01 AM ET

As triathlon nears, a competitor celebrates life

Since January, Dr. Sanjay Gupta and the producers of CNN Medical News have been working with  six incredible people who have taken the Fit Nation Challenge. That challenge was to participate with Dr. Sanjay Gupta  in the Nautica New York Triathlon July 18. That's just a few weeks away. They've been the last six months swimming, biking, and running. Today we begin our final check-ins before the event.   Say hello to  Angie Brouhard.

Angie Brouhard is a survivor. A teacher, wife and mom from Springfield, Ohio, Angie learned she had breast cancer in April 2009. After surgery, treatment and different medications, her fitness began to take a back seat. She didn't feel like herself anymore. She was out of shape and needed some inspiration. So when her husband saw the "Fit Nation" challenge advertised on CNN, he thought it would be the perfect thing for her. He figured it would give her the push she needed to get back on the road, and fight her illness. Angie agreed.

Married almost 18 years, Brad and Angie Brouhard were high school sweethearts. He was a little older, but they remained close even when he graduated. They went to church together, shared the same values and eventually married and settled in their hometown.

Now with three children, Angie is a woman with a full load. She is constantly on the go, running from different games and events her kids are involved in. Alex, her oldest, is an award-winning runner and was Angie's road partner when she first began her training. Her other son, Seth, is going into eighth grade and plays football, basketball and baseball. And her daughter, Ellie,  plays piano, sings and is still trying to figure out what sports she likes best.

Combine that with training and her full-time job as a speech-language pathologist at the Longview Child and Family Center in Urbana, Ohio and Angie hasn't got time to slow down. And she doesn't want to.  In April, she reflected on  how much her life has changed in the last year, and her hopes for the future.

"It's going really well, she says. "I have been exercising, I've been sticking to my plan that my trainer has worked out for me, I'm ready."

But Angie will tell you, it's not all about her. "I couldn't have done any of this without the support from my family and friends, " she says as she shakes her head. "The breast cancer, the treatment, everything. My family and my friends have just been behind me the whole way."

And she has her faith. On her Facebook page is the quote, "I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." She knows her beliefs have given her the will to press on.

Today, Angie turns 42. In less than a month, she will cross the finish line in New York City, on her wedding anniversary, to the cheers of a whole group of people who love her and never thought for a moment she couldn't complete the triathlon. Her biggest fan, Brad, says it's going to be a wonderful moment in her life.
"I know it's just going to be a really an emotional time for her at the beginning of the race," says Brad. "And then when she crosses and she sees all of her family and her friends cheering her on, I know she's going to be overwhelmed with joy"

But for Angie it's more than just finishing the race. She wants to set an example for all women who have faced breast cancer and other illnesses, that they can get through their diagnoses and they can survive and enjoy life to the fullest.

"I hope that I can be an inspiration to others," says Angie with a smile. “I mean I think it will be such a feeling of satisfaction for myself to complete this, knowing I can put the cancer behind me. I think it will be an emotional day."

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.