Being faced with adversity, one might look to quit, but that’s not the case for one Williston woman who found the strength to keep carrying on.
When you imagine a powerlifter you might picture an extremely built man, but those stereotypes are slowly being thrown out the window thanks to women like Valerie Valentino.
“Once I started lifting I got addicted to it.” Williston Resident Valerie Valentino said.
Valentino fell in love with lifting after graduating high school, expecting nothing more than to just be fit.
“So I started going to a gym and I slowly started learning how to lift, you know I was brand new, so I just had to ask people how to do stuff,” she said.
Logging extensive hours in the gym, Valentino found herself setting personal goals and crushing them.
After a while, she decided to take it up a notch, competing 3 times in powerlifting and 2 times in strongman competitions.
“So in powerlifting I have all the state records for my weight class.” she said.
But those accolades didn’t come easy, in fact, Valentino had to put up a great fight, one that almost cost her, her life.
“So I was actually preparing for my first powerlifting meet and then I got diagnosed.” she said.
In January of 2018, Hodgkin’s Lymphoma took over Valentino’s life.
“It’s a cancer of your lymph nodes and your blood and it happens to a lot of people in your early 20’s which is what happen to me,” Valentino said.
Due to treatments, she found herself changing by the day.
“A lot of weird things happened like I had super long hair, so I lost all my hair.” she said.
Even her strength, that she worked so hard to build up was gone too.
“I tell people imagine losing every physical attribute that makes you feel good about yourself,” Valentino said, “I had all of that taken away. So, it really just changed my whole perspective on life.”
But refusing to give up, Valentino beat cancer and has now broken multiple records while holding state titles for her weight class in competitions, lifting close to 400 pounds, almost 3 times her body weight.
Now, she’s sharing her story to bring life and motivation to others.
“It’s always great when you find someone who has battled through something and they use that to empower them to do something good or use that to help other people who are going through the same problems.” Valentino’s Boyfriend, J.W. Sheering said.
“There’s always going to be an excuse, there’s always something holding you back, there’s always going to be a reason that you can use to just not try or give it your best, but if you can just do it, you’ll be so proud of yourself,” Valentino said.
She says the service provides veggies, carbs, and proteins in one-pound portions to help folks start and maintain healthier eating habits at an affordable cost.