Disease & Illness

This Woman With Cerebral Palsy Beat Cancer And Opened Her Own CrossFit Gym

She's an inspiration!

When Steph Hammerman was born with cerebral palsy, doctors thought she might never walk or talk. But this superwoman proved everyone wrong. Nicknamed “The Hammer,” she committed herself to getting healthy and helping others do so as well, even going so far as to become a CrossFit Trainer.

“I felt like I was living my life for so many other people, and I was taking care of everyone around me and I was forgetting to take care of myself,” she told PEOPLE. “I found a trainer and I really started taking care of my health. That started me on this journey of becoming an athlete.”

She found CrossFit in 2012 and got hooked. After two years, she became the first CrossFit Level 2 certified trainer with cerebral palsy.

Throughout it all, she’s been documenting her journey on social media. In this photograph on Instagram, she shows herself lifting weights in the gym and looks pretty cool doing it.

Then, in 2016, another roadblock was put in Hammerman’s way. She was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma stage 3B.

“I remember thinking to myself: I don’t have time for cancer,” she said to PEOPLE. “I have so much that I want to do and so much life that I want to live.”

So she continued living her life full-out, in addition to starting treatment for her cancer. After just seven weeks of the 29-week treatment, her scans were clear. So she got back to work.

In 2017, she became Nike’s first adaptive athlete after showing love for the company’s Metcon sneakers, which she loved because her crutches didn’t wear them down. In this post on her Instagram, she sports her Nike gear while posing in the gym.

A year after beating her battle with cancer, her fitness journey culminated in yet another big success. She opened her own CrossFit gym, Hammer Driven Fitness, outside Raleigh, North Carolina.

Now, at the age of 29, she continues to enjoy helping people hit their fitness goals, but that’s not her only mission. In addition to her coaching and the work she does with her gym, she’s working to normalize athletes with adaptive needs.

“Societal perception of people with adaptive needs has changed,” she writes on the ABC News website, “but has a long way to go. That’s why I thrive off of achieving the ‘impossible.'”

We are so inspired by Hammerman’s positivity and perseverance, and can’t wait to see what she does next.