Second in a series about five fitness pros who are impacting their communities outside the health club.

As fitness sponsor of the 129th Rose Parade, 24 Hour Fitness has embraced the parade’s theme, “Making a Difference,” by inviting team members to tell us how they make a difference in their community. Their amazing stories are deeply moving. Over the next few weeks, we’re sharing five of their stories on 24Life.

Name: Theresa Blackbird
Title: Sr. IT Security Engineer; Carlsbad, Calif.

Photography was simply a hobby for senior IT security engineer Theresa Blackbird, until one of her models made an unusual request: to help her create a pinup-style calendar featuring hot rods and real cancer survivors.

The model was a breast cancer survivor just like Blackbird, and like Blackbird was acutely conscious of the body image issues many survivors face post-surgery. Together, they’ve now produced their third Survivor Pinup Calendar for 2018, and are working on many more projects to help raise funds for stage IV breast cancer research and for Haus of Volta, a non-profit collective designed to generate a positive outlook on life after breast cancer or other diseases. In addition to helping women reclaim their physical confidence, Haus of Volta delivers care packages to women undergoing chemotherapy with funds raised by Blackbird’s calendars.

“I want to do all that I can to ensure our daughters [and sons] don’t have to suffer through this disease and its awful ‘treatments,’” Blackbird says. “I wish I could do more. I wish there were more than 24 hours in a day!”

Photo credit: Adil Ansari, Unsplash (hero); courtesy of Theresa Blackbird