October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and over the past year, Nicole Jacobs has told stories of breast cancer survival in the Fox 25 Fight For Pink series.
Jacobs concludes her series with a report of a 47-year-old woman who refuses to allow her breast cancer diagnosis slow her down.
For Ellyn Robinson, the weight room is heaven.
"It's a place where I can feel confident and a place where I can continue to do what I love," said Robinson."
Robinson is the head coach of the weight-lifting team and a strength and conditioning professor at Bridgewater State University.
"I have three brothers," muses Robinson. "I thought that I better keep up and be strong because if my mom and dad weren't home I was the only girl."
The 47-year-old has never let "being a girl" stop her, but the heavy burden of a deadly disease nearly did.
Robinson had undergone countless mammograms. She was on the breast cancer radar because of her mother's 12-year battle with the disease.
"The radiology technician said 'I'm sorry this is going to hurt a little.' And I said, 'These never hurt, I have them all the time,'" said Robinson. "I knew when she compressed the plates because it hurt."
At age 45, Robinson's test came back positive.
"He told me they found breast cancer. They found clusters of calcifications and they wanted to schedule the immediate biopsy," said Robinson.
In that moment, Robinson said her mother's spirit and words rang in her head.
"She always said: ‘What would you be doing if you didn't find out?"
After receiving her diagnosis, Robinson did just that. She hit the gym.
"I allowed myself one day to say: ‘It's not fair. Why me? Who does this happen to?" said Robinson. "Then I realized It's happening to me. I can either sit in the corner and cry or what can I do? And I did what I would normally do."
Robinson said she was already recovering from malignant melanoma. Between that and breast cancer she underwent 8 surgeries. Compounding her stress, during her fight with cancer, Robinson's mother lost her own battle with the disease.
Through her tough times she found solace in the gym, in her student and in her partner, Lori.
"She's been there through all of it, every step of the way," said Robinson. "She's great at it."
Robinson said she determined to see the glass half-full. She said that's her way of life and a perspective she instills in her students.
"It's my path to survivorship. It's my sanctuary."