Thank you for your interest in supporting Team #NESTORSTRONG & EMPOWER Personalized Fitness!

Ways to Support #NestorStrong

This year the FIGHT continues as we have been personally touched and inspired by Nestor’s story and we are committed to raising $20,000 and generating awareness for the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke. There are many ways for you to get involved and support this cause that is so near and dear to the Empower Community and our General Manager Nestor and his wife Ashley. Please consider joining us in this fight against brain cancer through several charitable opportunities.

Join Us for An Afternoon of FOOD, FUN, and FUNDRAISING

Please join us SUNDAY, APRIL 23rd, at 4:00PM at the EMPOWER Personalized Fitness studio for a FUN, family-friendly BBQ fundraising event benefiting TEAM #NESTORSTRONG, Angels Among Us, and the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke! Tickets are only $25.00 for adults and $10.00 for children – SAVE THE DATE and purchase tickets here:

Adults ($25.00)

Children 12 & under ($10.00)

Master BBQ chef Scott Ashton will be cooking BBQ chicken, pork, and smoked salmon. Sides, salad, dessert, and beverages (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) are included!

Live music will be provided by local musician Adam Decker and Special Guests. You can check out how they groove here:

SILENT & LIVE AUCTION and FUN GAMES with Emcee Dana Lange! Auction items include gift certificates to awesome local businesses, artwork by local artists, sports tickets, and more!

This event is open to EVERYONE so please bring friends!

Purchase a Team #NestorStrong shirt to wear on race day


Get Yours for Only $25

(Men’s, Women’s, Youth sizes available)

A portion of proceeds will be donated to the Brain Tumor Center at Duke

Pick up in studio or we will ship!

Support Local Businesses and Raise Money for Team #NestorStrong


Need a new pair of shoes or some gear for an upcoming race? Or do you just love to shop? Support TEAM #NestorStrong when you shop at our favorite running store leading up to the Angels Among Us Race on April 29, 2017.

April 22 – 23 – Shop Bull City Running Company and mention TEAM #NestorStrong. 10% of all sales will go to the Brain Tumor Center.

When you support our friends and community partners it’s a WIN, WIN, WIN. You are making an economic impact on your local community, you are helping support the cutting-edge research and treatment at The Brain Tumor Center and you are you are getting some great new running gear!

Angels Among Us – April 29, 2017 – 8:00 am


Thanks to the cutting-edge treatment at Duke, our friend and General Manager Nestor Paonessa has beaten brain cancer and resumed many of his favorite physical activities – including long distance running and hiking.


Join Empower and Team #NestorStrong for this family-friendly event that is sure to be a blast for everyone. In 2016 we had the largest team out of the course and this year our goal is to have the largest team AND raise $20,000 to support The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center and the Angels Among Us organization so there are many more positive stories like Nestor’s.


The day begins with a 5K run through the Duke campus, followed by a 3K family walk through Sarah P. Duke Gardens. Angels Among Us also offers a silent auction, fun activities for children and food trucks.


Angels Among Us

Please register here and wear your #NestorStrong shirt on race day.

Can’t make it to Durham on April 29? You can still support TEAM #NestorStrong when you register for the race, purchase a shirt and run/walk in your hometown. Show your support on social media when you use hashtag #NestorStrong. Let’s start a trend on April 29!

Make a Secure Online Donation

Every little bit helps in the fight against cancer! Please consider making a tax-deductible, secure online donation of any amount directly to The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke.


Donate Online

(Please choose #NestorStrong)

Nestor’s Story

As most of you already know, Nestor Paonessa, our Assistant General Manager, was diagnosed with a brain tumor in July of 2015. Just days after diagnosis, much of the tumor was surgically removed at the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke.  Following surgery, he immediately began intense radiation treatments and a regimen of chemotherapy that continues to this day.  Thanks to Drs. Henry and Allan Friedman and the rest of their elite team of researchers, doctors, physician assistants, nurses, and radiologists, Nestor has been empowered to face a historically fatal cancer diagnosis head-on and to fully live the life he envisioned once again.  Read more about Nestor’s story in the July 2016 Cancer Awareness issue of Endurance Magazine

With Duke’s life-saving help, Nestor has resumed many of his favorite physical activities, including long distance running and hiking.  In early September, he began training for the Umstead 100-Mile Endurance Run, which he will run to raise funds for Team #NESTORSTRONG, the Angels Among Us 5k, and the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center on April 1st, 2017.  Shortly after this race, he and his wife Ashley will hike Mt. Kilimanjaro and take an African safari – proof that Nestor is living his best life and benefitting from the cutting-edge treatments at Duke.  Please join us in this fight against brain cancer so that we can help more people have access to the life-saving, first-class medical care that Duke provides.

#nestorstrongMeet Nestor

  • M.S. Exercise and Sport Science, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  • B.A. Exercise and Sport Science – Athletic Training, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist
  • BOC Certified Athletic Trainer
  • NCBATE Licensed Athletic Trainer
  • My top 3 songs on my playlist right now: You won’t find individual songs on my playlist – instead, I prefer radio “stations” covering the genres of Merengue, Bachata, Samba, Bossanova, and other Latin/Smooth Jazz.
  • Favorite Movie – Star Wars – The Force Awakens (if you haven’t already, see it in IMAX 3D – it will blow your mind!)
  • Favorite place to spend my free time – Somewhere in the middle of the woods backpacking with my beautiful wife Ashley