Alyson Gibson loves fitness.

“For anybody who knows me, burpees are my go-to. I love burpees!” she said.

Like…REALLY loves it.

“We’re here six days a week, usually about twelve hours a day,” she said.

Safe to say, she knows her stuff.

Her keys to fitness? Just put one foot in front of the other and build an exciting atmosphere.

They take wellness seriously at Fit Body Boot Camp, but perfect health extends far beyond what the eye can see — something Alyson knows all too well.

“When I was first diagnosed, fitness was where I found my escape,” Alyson said.

Alyson was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis type 2, a condition that causes tumors to grow in her nervous system. The growths aren’t cancerous, but they are just as deadly.

“Yes, cancer is awful. But when people hear ‘oh, she has a brain tumor. She has brain cancer.’ That’s not the case,” she said. “Our situation is just as serious and that’s when they hear ‘oh, it’s not cancer. You’re fine.’ No, that’s not how it is.”

Alyson endured multiple surgeries, one of which left her deaf in one ear. But that wasn’t all.

“I couldn’t even stand for 20 seconds without wanting to cry because I had no balance,” Alyson said. “I didn’t want to try to take a step.”

Alyson took that step…and another one…and another one, regaining her physical strength while becoming an advocate and role model for other NF2 patients.

That’s why we’re paying it forward to Alyson so she can continue to raise money to support brain tumor research and be an inspiration for all who step through her gym’s doors.

“Her personal stuff — she uses that and we feed off of that and that pushes us a little farther than what we could normally push ourselves,” said friend and boot camp participant Sheyna Stewart.

“It’s hard to believe that I’m that inspiration, but that’s really what I strive for,” Alyson said. “It’s who I want to be.”

And it’s who Alyson really is, taking life one rep — and one step — at a time.

If you would like to help Alyson raise funds for brain tumor research, please click here.