‘When I lost my parents, I had to be strong for my family. When I got cancer, I had to be strong for me.’
“My mom died in a car accident heading to my stepsister’s rehearsal dinner. Then my father got hit by a car walking across the street and died on impact. My stepfather, who I look at as my own dad, got into a car accident as well and lost his leg.
“I had to basically take care of everybody. I helped my stepdad raise my little brother, who was 11 when my mom died, and then when my dad died, I had to help raise my sister on his side. During COVID, not only did I lose my dad, but I was dealing with trying to keep my business, Revolution Fitness, afloat. Finally, when the dust settled in early 2021, I started having health complications. I had a pain in my back; we thought it was my gallbladder, so we had it removed to find out it wasn’t my gallbladder. It was a tumor on my spine. It was a non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a rare subtype called anaplastic large cell lymphoma. Fortunately, I caught it very early.
At the end of the day, life is going to try to knock you down. It’s up to us to get back up.
“When I reached out to one of my mediums, he said to me that the pain that I was dealing with in my back was my mom letting me know that’s where the cancer was. I always said to people that it was like somebody was literally holding my spine and trying to rip it out of my back. Once they saw on the MRI that it was a tumor, the pain went away. My medium also said by the third chemo treatment, which happened to be on my birthday, I would be cancer free, and he was right; the tumor was gone. We did three more treatments to be on the safe side, but it was hard because it took me away from my business even more than COVID did, because at least then we were able to do outdoor classes, virtual classes, private sessions. We gave our clients the option to freeze their memberships during COVID, but 85 percent of them decided to keep them open to support us.
“Everybody in this town has my back. I grew up here. I went to Northport High School, and I made sure my business was going to be in East Northport. Once I was cleared to return to work, I didn’t take another day off for months. When I lost my parents, I had to be strong for my family. When I got cancer, I had to be strong for me, which I wasn’t used to. At the end of the day, life is going to try to knock you down. It’s up to us to get back up.”