Meet the Founder
Lisa Reale Munn
B.S. Exercise and Sports Science
Certified Cancer Exercise Specialist
Certified Personal Trainer
Certified ISSA Nutritionist
On March 19, 2019, I was diagnosed with stage 2b breast cancer at age 32 with 2 young children, ages 4 and 1 (whom I was still nursing). I went through 16 rounds of IV chemo (which didn't work), then had a double mastectomy and lymph node dissection with expanders placed (and drains for 10 weeks!), followed by my body rejecting the expanders and causing a bad infection that led to a week-long hospitalization. Two days after getting out of the hospital I ended up having an emergency explant surgery. Because of all the complications, radiation got pushed back way longer than it should have, so I started hormone therapy and ovarian suppression early to stop the growth of the cancer cells. I then had 25 rounds of radiation and 6 more months of oral chemo before I was declared in remission on 8/8/2020.
I had the most amazing support system through this whole journey and felt such an incredible peace about it all when I got diagnosed because I knew God was going to use this whole thing for good in some way! My family stepped up BIG TIME and my kids didn't really understand everything that was going on. Because I had so many amazing friends and family supporting me, this journey was SO much easier than it could have been and what ultimately led me to beginning Rise Above is that I wanted other women to feel the love and support throughout their journeys as well!
As a retired professional figure competitor (in the world of bodybuilding) and personal trainer, health and fitness was a huge part of my journey! I was able to experiment with myself through treatment in ways that allowed me to experience what treatment was like with and without exercise, fasting and different nutritional patterns. I was also able to see the gap in the health care continuum as a survivor. I've experienced unexplained pain, loss of range-of-motion, muscle imbalances, excruciating bone pain due to hormone therapies, lymphedema, cording, medically induced menopause and all the side-effects that go along with that, as well as the mental and emotional challenges, all of which often get brushed under the rug, so to speak, for many survivors.
After seeing how much exercise and nutrition helped minimize side effects, boost my energy levels and mood and so much more, I knew I had to help others understand this and help close the gap in treatment and care.
Because of my journey, I became a Certified Cancer Exercise Specialist and I am so excited to have the opportunity to build a strong community or survivors and supporters and offer encouragement, accountability and resources around all things health and fitness!