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Life Gets in the Way: Powering through Adversity with Grit & Grace

Anyone going through any adversity these days? Is anyone facing big challenges, decisions, or setbacks with their health, mindset, career, or relationship? Meet Sally Kalksma. She was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in 2008. Her husband passed away 1.5 years later. Left to raise her 3-kids as a single-Mom, she turned to stair-climbing & “Tower Racing” as an outlet to deal with her adversity. Today, she raises money for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation as a world-ranked “Tower Racer,” She just wrote a book on overcoming the adversity that life throws at us.

My friends, today’s episode is going to inspire you to the depths of your soul. Sally shares:

  • How she uses her Multiple Myeloma as fuel to continue inspiring others.
  • How and why Stair-Climbing & Tower Challenges are so therapeutic for her.
  • Why she wrote her book, “Life Gets in the Way: Powering Through Adversity with Grit & Grace.”
  • How she stays positive now despite having to take chemo every other night and what inspires her to keep going.
  • What IMPACT means to her.

Sally Kalksma has an energy and spirit that is tenacious, it’s palpable, and you will feel it throughout this episode. I hope that you find great value, hope, and inspiration in today’s SHOW. Please share it with your community and have them subscribe to our podcast, that would be amazing. As always, thanks for what you do!

Please tag us at:

IG/Twitter: @ToddDurkin @SallyKalksma

FB: @ToddDurkinFQ10 @SallyKalksma

:48 – Meet Sally Kalksma
Cancer survivor and avid stair climber

7:40 – Multiple Myeloma diagnosis
What does that diagnosis mean for Sally

11:00 – The mindset after a cancer diagnosis.

She had to get in the best shape of my life. She lost my husband to a rare genetic cancer just a year and a half after being diagnosed. So She had to put herself in overdrive. So she turned to working out.

15:40 – Being an Elite Stair Climber
Sally shares how she got started. Adversity training. Empire State climb up – 86 stories. Racing strategies.

24:02 – Training in a parking garage, that’s where it all started.

5 floors, 20 times for sprint work, weekend training in NYC 45-72 floors 4-5 times

28:25 – What inspired her to write the book Life Gets in the Way: Powering through Adversity with Grit & Grace.

Had a writing journal, she was encouraged to share my story and get the emotions out

32:58 – Who is this book for?

Anyone who needs a little life uplifting or facing adversity

34:55 – Chemotherapy pill every other night.

36:50 – What keeps Sally going?

3 kids. Helping people and raising money for cancer research.

39:25 –  Sally shares her wisdom on Grace & Grit!

Don’t give up. Stay positive. Keep fighting. Enjoy life. Help other people.

41:25 – Who does Sally turn to when she is having a down day?

42:40 – What drives Sally now?

Audio book. Finish childrens book. Enjoy life on the Jersey Shore in my boat.

46:24 – Sally shares her legacy and desire to live a life Impacting others.

About Sally:

In 2008, Sally’s life changed abruptly. She was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, an incurable blood cancer. The situation intensified when 5 months after Sally’s diagnosis, her husband was diagnosed with a genetic form of cancer. 8 months later, Pete passed away. At the age of 47, Sally had become widowed, was raising three kids, working full time, and living with multiple myeloma.

As a way to manage the stress, Sally started running up the stairs during her lunch break. This activity became more official as she transitioned into competitive stair climbing. She began channeling all of her energy raising money for charities with this new sport. Over the years Sally has raised over $110,000 for charities including the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF). All the while, rising in the rankings for the tower runs to 5th in the United States and 20th overall in the world. But as her rankings improved, her cancer worsened, and she needed to start treatment in 2016. After a year of treatment, Sally underwent an autologous stem cell transplant in 2017.

Facing Multiple Myeloma has not been easy for Sally, it has its ups and downs. Though Sally is currently in remission, cancer looms large in her life. She still takes chemo as maintenance therapy, and since her husband’s cancer was genetic, she worries about her kids needing to fight battles of their own.  Her resiliency and tenacious spirit powers her through all of this uncertainty and helps her to spread positivity and hope to others dealing with similar challenges.

ATTN Trainers, Coaches, & Fitness Enthusiasts in the NJ, NY & Mid-Atlantic States
“An Evening of IMPACT with Todd Durkin”
Keynote/Inspirational Talk & Social (LIVE & IN-PERSON)
(as part of a DEKA Fit Event)
Sept 17, 2021

A motivational talk (Live & IN-PERSON) for trainers, gym owners, fit-pros, and anyone who wants 90-minutes of pure adrenaline infused into their veins. Bring your team. Bring a friend or family member.

Price is only $25.00 per person.

Sign-up TODAY!

Are you a Trainer, Coach, or Fitness Business Owner seeking to make even more IMPACT in your business & life?

You are only as good as the people you surround yourself with. Level up today with my “Best in Class” MASTERMIND program for fitness professionals. I invite you to connect, share, and grow with the top coaches, trainers, and entrepreneurs in the fitness industry. My MASTERMIND is for passionate and purpose-driven fitness professionals who want to create success & significance in their personal and professional lives. If that sounds like you, visit: to enroll or apply today. If you do so within the next 24 hours, you will receive a FREE video of one of my recent “ALL MASTERMIND” coaching calls. There are so many lost souls right now that need “our” LIGHT.  Let’s make a difference together, one life at a time! 

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