My life changed forever when I was merely six years old. My father was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor and given six months to live. Although he was only given half a year to live my father was determined to see me graduate from high school. To live another twelve years when you are only expected to live six months takes a true fighter. Several experimental surgeries, a lifetime amount of radiation and his strong will and determination helped him survive another fifteen years! My father was truly exceptional. He has given me the hope and determination to fight against all odds and although he is no longer alive he influences my thoughts and actions daily.
I was always daddy’s little girl. Even though he was sick for the majority of my life my memories of him are mostly of all the time we spent together when I was little. Once he got sick my time spent with him was in hospitals and nursing homes. It was very difficult to see him in places that he didn’t belong. Once we could no longer take care of him at home he went into the psychiatric ward at the Veteran’s Hospital and after that a series of nursing homes. There was no facility where he truly fit in as a man in his forties but we managed to make each facility a comfortable home for him. He continually stayed active by going on walks, swimming, playing miniature golf and gardening.
My father’s passion when he was healthy was sports. He loved them all! Outside of his full time job he was a college basketball referee, a high school basketball coach, and a minor league baseball umpire. He also played golf several times a week. As a child he taught me how to swim, play basketball, and would take me to ballet and gymnastics several times a week. His passion became mine as I became a personal trainer, group exercise instructor and cancer exercise specialist. Working with cancer patients and survivors to help them get back into shape and improve their quality of life has been the most meaningful part of my career. Mark Twain said to make your vocation your vacation and I feel that I have truly done that. I love working with my clients, doing massage, teaching classes and helping people in every way I can.