When I was a child, my dad was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. He continued working, but eventually took early retirement. Through it all, he never complained about the pain. I always remember him whistling and smiling, right up until his death at age 59. I had no idea what he had been through until later, when I began to experience my own aches and pains.

It is hard to imagine that goodness can come from something so painful, but his pain inspired me to become a certified fitness instructor for the Arthritis Foundation. The exercise class gives me the opportunity to teach a variety of exercises that tone muscles, build resistance, promote balance, and alleviate stress. The program also allows me to stay up to date on health issues, from evidence-based research to new legislation and regulation that improves the lives of people living with arthritis. I also teach an amazing group of seniors who bring joy and optimism into my life every day I teach the class!

My mother was diagnosed with cancer when I was in high school. Following a barrage of chemo and radiation treatments, the doctors sent her home to die. I will never forget the day the doctor called my dad and me into his office. He told us that they had done all they could for her and that she had about three weeks to live. Paralyzed on one side of her body, completely unable to walk, my mother was sent home to die surrounded by her family. She lived another 9 years! She regained her ability to walk and lived an adventure that was even more fulfilling than the one she had before she was diagnosed with cancer. Her story was so incredible that she was written up in the New England Journal of Medicine. My reason for sharing her story is to provide hope to others who have been diagnosed with cancer.

Though both of my parents passed away years ago, I am still inspired by their determination and perseverance in the face of overwhelming challenges.

As for me, my chosen profession is education. I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in History from Boston University before graduating from UCLA’s Teacher Credential Program. I also have a Master’s Degree in Educational Theatre from New York University.

After 25 years in the classroom, including several years overseas, I found my true passion working on an Indian reservation in Montana. Now I spend my time helping others discover their true purpose through overcoming challenges, obstacles, and difficulties that arise over the course of their lifetime.

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