PARKVILLE, MO (KCTV) – Sometimes people don’t know their own strength until they come face to face with their biggest weakness.
For Lisa Fosnough, who is fighting a rare cancer of the bone in her thigh called osteosarcoma, the words cancer sent her mind straight to her husband and three kids.
“You think about chemo and how my life is going to change and ‘All my hairs going to fall out,’” she said. “I’m thankful that this is happening to me and not to my kids because I don’t know that I could handle that, so I am thankful that it is me and not them.
Lisa’s sister Jill sits by her side during Lisa’s chemo sessions at the KU Cancer Center. The two are best friends, making the call to tell Jill about her diagnosis all the more difficult for Lisa.
“Between my kids, Jill and my husband, those were the hardest phone calls that I had,” Lisa told KCTV5 News. “To call and tell them because we are all so close."
Anyone that knows Lisa, however, knows that weakness isn’t at all what she’s about. In fact, she shows strength in more ways than one.
At KCI Crossfit, Lisa lifts, jumps and rows three days a week, all while she fights for her life.
“From day one I said, ‘I’m going to fight this. I’m going for it. I’m going to fight and fight hard,’” she said. “I love it, I absolutely love it. It’s my thing.”
Lisa refuses to let cancer steal that thing, and her coaches say there’s not a stronger person in the room, adding that her effort sends a powerful message to others.
But for someone who used to work out every day, three days a week just wasn’t enough.
Turning treatments into workouts
KCI Crossfit challenges members each year to take their crossfitting skills elsewhere, snapping a pic and sharing it on social media.
Lisa said most people do it on vacation, working out on a mountain or a beach, but she had something else in mind.
“Jill and I were here(at chemo), and I was like, ‘We should do a handstand and call it ‘KCI goes to chemo,’’” she recalled.
Since then, LISA has been doing crossfit at chemo. Her doctors say that as rare as her cancer is, Lisa surprises them even more, even encouraging some to join in on the workout.
“I asked Dr. Powers if he wanted to come in and do some handstands with me, and he’s like, ‘No, and I’ve never asked that before,” she said.
Lisa began posting videos of the workouts to social media. Soon, those videos went viral, being shared thousands of times.
“(It) totally went off, and every one’s like, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t believe you’re doing handstands while getting chemo,” she said.
Lisa decided to use the platform for something good, launching what she calls the “Strong Like Lisa” pushup challenge. She nominated her friends to record themselves doing pushups and donate to sarcoma research.
The effort has taken off, with hundreds of videos and thousands of messages of support, some from people she doesn’t even know.
“Realizing everything was dramatically going to change in my life, that was really hard for me,” she said. “I can’t believe how great every one’s handling it and helping me through it.”
Lisa's niece even nominated Patrick Mahomes for the “Strong Like Lisa” challenge, and many of her friends in Kansas City would love to see the Chiefs quarterback jump on board.
Lisa will have a major surgery to remove the sarcoma in her leg in November, and she'll undergo more chemo after that.
Not only has Lisa faced that challenge head on, she’s become an inspiration, showing that even after a cancer diagnosis, you can become stronger than ever before.
“I’m getting these high doses of chemo, but watch what I can do while I’m here.”