I was 15 years old when I found Pilates. It was a mandatory part of my dance training growing up in New York, but at that point in my life I didn’t understand its value. That was 46 years ago. In 1982 I found fitness and “aerobics” – and got hooked on the craze. It was the era of “more is better” so I did everything I could to be active: running, skiing, teaching 10 classes per week and even becoming a ski instructor & fitness educator – all while raising two small boys. In 1984, I thought I was invincible; there wasn’t anything I couldn’t or wouldn’t do…and I was still dancing. And then one day during a ski session, while training to take my skiing PSIA certification I took a fall..one that ended up with surgery to correct & replace the ACL & PCL cruciate ligaments in my knee.
It was at that moment, during my first physical therapy session, that I realized the value of Pilates. All that core, strength, flexibility and mind body training got me through it and I realized just how important Pilates as a foundation program was to my recovery. It inspired me so much that in the mid 1990’s I decided that I wanted to devote myself to this amazing and proven discipline. I spent several years traveling back and forth to NY training with the best-of-the-best to perfect my skills in Pilates. Upon completion, I used this new-found knowledge to bridge the gap between fitness and Pilates and a new career was born for me: Educating fitness professionals on the importance of fusing Pilates with the Fitness Industry.
Fast-forward to 1998. My career was going well. Life was going good….so I thought. A dear friend noticed a dark mole on my back and suggested I had it checked. That doctor visit turned out to be a 4.75 on a scale of 1-5 for Melanoma. Luckily, surgery allowed for removal of the cancer but all the lymph nodes on my left side had to be removed. Further treatment was not necessary, but it was Pilates that allowed me to heal and recover quickly from the surgery. I thought that was the end of it.
In 2011, A normal yearly visit to the doctor again turned my world upside down. I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Follicular Lymphoma, and the cancer had spread throughout the front of my torso and neck and along my spinal column, and two years of Chemotherapy followed. This was a life changer. But despite the nausea and the lack of energy, I refused to let it get the best of me. I continuing to work with my clients, teaching Pilates classes, educating fitness & Pilates professionals and moving my body every day. That pulled me through. I found the energy and drive to continue to bike, ski, snowshoe, dance & even climb a 14’er. Pilates was my savior! I refused to let anything hold me back, maintaining my motivation and passion for life-through-movement & support of family, friends & clients – I never looked back. There is no doubt that “movement” healed and inspired me.
Today I am cancer free. I am now trained as a Cancer Exercise Specialist and have had the opportunity to write the Pilates Program for The Cancer Exercise Training Institute.
I am a wife, mother of two wonderful sons, 4 beautiful grandchildren, surrounded by a beautiful community of family and friends and for that I am forever grateful.
When I found Pilates, something beautiful happened. I move every day. It continues to allow me to remain youthful and active and to do what I love: Spend time with my family & inspire women (and men) around the world to move, feel and look good and become more confident with themselves. With that I hope you will join me in your quest for a healthier and more youthful you!