With 'attitude and determination,’ breast cancer survivor competes in virtual rowing challenge

Carol Henrion rows nearly 168,000 meters

At 68, Carol Henrion, has found a new passion for rowing. A workout she discovered while battling breast cancer.

ORLANDO, Fla. – At 68, Carol Henrion, has found a new passion for rowing. A workout she discovered while battling breast cancer.

And after six rounds of chemo and 25 rounds of radiation, Carol said she feels better than ever.

“I’m walking almost 10,000 steps a day plus rowing sometimes 10,000 meters a day,” Henrion said.

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However, in July 2019, her story was different. She had suffered a bad fall and a week later she found a lump in her left breast.

“Which was totally out of the blue because I do a self-exam every month,” she remembers.

She was treated at Advent Health in Orlando. Henrion recalled how tired she felt from the chemo treatments.

“Each time, I lost about 4 days to fatigue and dizziness, terrible fatigue,” she said. “And as it progressed, I became weaker and weaker. And I reached the point where I was dragging my right foot and I was alarmed. I was terrified.”

That realization prompted her to look for something that could help strengthen the muscles that had weakened because of the chemotherapy and found Fit 2 Row in Orlando’s College Park neighborhood.

“I thought, ‘well maybe I could do that. And I hate to exercise.’ I will tell everybody that,” she recalled.

Quickly, that dislike turned into a desire to work out about five times a week.

“She took off and we went from maybe 2,000 meters starting out, to 8,500,” Katie Cowan, owner of Fit 2 Row, said.

A month later, Henrion signed up for the Fall Team Challenge by Concept2. It’s a worldwide virtual competition where participants row away for one month and complete as many meters as possible.

“She says to me, ‘Do you think I can do it?’” Cowan said, adding “The goal is 100,000 or the next level of 200,000. She goes, ‘Let me just try it.’”

Henrion tried and surpassed her own expectations, rowing 167,833 meters.

“It means everything. That’s 120 miles. Two months ago, I would’ve told you I could never do. Never,” Henrion said.

She said she’s sharing her story not only to raise awareness about early detection and the importance of self-examination but with the hope that others who are fighting cancer will find inspiration in her accomplishment.

“It’s all about attitude and determination. That’s it. You want to conquer this, and I have a lot of good years left in me and this is helping.”

About the Author:

Carolina Cardona highlights all Central Florida has to offer in her stories on News 6 at Nine. She joined News 6 in June 2018 from the Telemundo station in Philadelphia.