Today – June 5 -- is National Cancer Survivor’s Day. A day dedicated to celebrating life. I have always been a lover of life but after battling Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (2x!), I found a deeper meaning. For me, loving life is finding + living your passion. No day but today. We owe it to ourselves + the world to find the things that make our soul shine. Nearly 2 years ago, I decided I wanted to try to teach. I was terrified + full of doubt. Who was I to teach?
Trudging through my fears + doubts was not easy. Step by step, day by day, I slowing gained the confidence to take action. Initially, I had a tough time deciding which training to take – I loved barre, yoga, cycling and running. So many things! I researched lots of options, gathered information + asked friends + strangers oodles of questions to try to figure out the best fit – which lead me to the barre teacher training at exhale. I completed my 40-hour barre training while I was working full-time. Once I auditioned + got accepted into exhale’s 200-hour teaching program, I knew I needed to take a LEAP of faith + start Chi Chi Life.
The past 1.5 years has been a wild ride – finding the best balance of my passions: fitness, events + fundraising + cancer advocacy. Teaching core fusion barre at exhale has literally been a dream come true. I am grateful to learn from the best in the industry: exhale’s founders Fred DeVito + Elisabeth Halfpapp + Barbara Boolukos + Tyler Ingram. My teachers have been teaching for nearly 35 years. They live + breathe this work. It’s not simply a job -- it’s their life, their craft. They are passionate about the method because they’ve seen it change lives. It changed mine.
At the encouragement + recommendation from my childhood friend, Michelle, I stepped into my first Core Fusion Barre class about 1 year after my stem cell transplant. Even though I had steadily been gaining my strength back + felt pretty strong, I literally wasn’t sure if I could make it through class. Bit by bit, I fell more in love with the method + I discovered strength within me that I didn’t know existed. Nearly every Saturday, you could find me at 980 Madison at Catherine Hesse’s 10:30a class. Catherine’s energy + passion for the work literally lights up the room. Catherine is the reason I wanted to become a teacher. She knows how to work hard, encourage + motivate her students – all while having a great time + cracking some jokes.
I am blessed to have crossed paths with many cancer fighters, survivors + angels. My friend “M” recently won a competition for honorary batgirl for a MLB team. My friend “A” went back to nursing school, got married, had a baby and started his own business. My friend “I” ran a half marathon + fundraised for The Leukemia + Lymphoma Society, had a baby and just celebrated her 5-years cancer-free with a HUGE bash. We are all bursting at the seams to soak in all of the goodness of life. We live our passion. Today + everyday, I honor each + every one of my cancer rockstars. You hold a super special place in my heart.
At my core, I want to serve others. In my fundraising + event planning work within the nonprofit space, I raise money to help others. But teaching gives me an incredibly dynamic platform to directly impact others. I never take it for granted + I am honored each time I step into the studio. I am alive. I live my passion. And in doing so, I hope to inspire others to live their own passion.