Morinville’s Charpentier taking to the bodybuilding stage for breast cancer awareness

by Stephen Dafoe

Tammy Charpentier with coworker Grace Avila who learned she had stage 2 breast cancer. – submitted photo

Morinville resident and bodybuilder Tammy Charpentier will take to the stage again this June to support two friends battling breast cancer.

Charpentier has had a powerful journey through the sport. Two years after her divorce, she had gained a lot of weight, which started her on a path of fitness that led to her qualifying as a National Figure competitor, Physique competitor, and Physique Nationals qualifier.

A cancer diagnosis threw a curve into competing for a while. Since conquering cancer, Charpentier trained to return to the competition stage and in 2022, Charpentier competed in Toronto and took second place in Masters 45 and 6th in open class and Masters 35 categories.

This June 30, at the TNT Muscle Show in Edmonton, Charpentier will compete in Masters 45 / Masters 35 and Open Class.

However, the return to the stage was not something Charpentier was considering doing.

Last March, the bodybuilder met a woman from Morinville who had followed her weight loss and cancer journey on Facebook. She was also on a weight loss journey and lost 91 pounds between that initial March meeting and August.

“One day she asked me if I’d do a show so she could see me in person on stage and not just social media,” Charpentier recalled, noting she’d initially declined the request as she was done with competing. “I had to go for my three-year check-up to see if I was cancer-free still. She asked if she could come with me. I said sure.”

Charpentier asked her friend if she’d ever had a mammogram done, and hearing she had not, the bodybuilder recommended she consider doing so.

“A few weeks later, I got a text from her saying everything happens for a reason. If we had never met, I never would have gotten checked or known I have stage 1 breast cancer,” Charpentier explained. “I cried. I told my kids I have to give her [that] one request to see me on stage in person because I know what she will be going through because I went through it.”

When Charpentier told a coworker, Grace Avila, she was doing a show for the lady and to show solidarity as a breast cancer survivor, her coworker said she had found a lump and it was growing.

“She was scared to go get it checked, but she did,” Charpentier said. “A few weeks later she came to me and gave me a big hug and said, ‘I’m going to need your hugs more than ever now. You’re now not just doing the show for her; you’re doing it for me, too.”

Charpentier learned her coworker has an aggressive stage 2 breast cancer.

“I have chosen to give these two amazing ladies the show,” she said. “People do runs for breast cancer. I’m hitting the stage for these two ladies for breast cancer.”

St. Albert’s Planet Fitness donated a one-year black card membership and a bag of gym materials. Coworkers at St. Albert Sobeys bought tickets, and enough was raised to buy show tickets for both ladies and their husbands, with additional funds donated to the Cross Cancer Institute.

With the show coming up in three months, Charpentier has been training with her coach, Juan Nitti, and focusing on leaning out her body by reacquainting herself with a diet of lots of fish and conditioning her body with cardio.

“I feel this will be one of my best packages I take to stage,” Charpentier said. “It would be nice to win it for these girls, but just seeing the smiles on their faces that I gave them their one request is a win already. And if I place top three in this show, I will have the opportunity once again to compete nationally for my Pro card again.”

St. Albert Planet Fitness donated a one-year black card membership and gym materials to help raise funds for tickets to the upcoming bodybuilding show.

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