Where are you from and how long have you lived in town? What brought you to the area?
I moved to Libertyville in my twenties and began building fitness programs for various clubs in Lake County. I met my wonderful husband Lu when a mutual friend rescued me from a bad date and Lu happened to be with him. Bad date leads to future husband…silver linings are everywhere! On our first date, Lu asked how much I weighed…I was like whaaat??!?!?!? Who asks that?! He said that he wanted to know my weight because he loves sailing and he thought we’d be a good sailing crew. Probably the sweetest thing anyone has said to me! 😊 Lu and I got married in 2012 and we have two amazing kids, Spencer, age 5 and Kacey, age 4.
I am so proud to be part of the Heather’s Gym team! I’ve always been an endurance athlete and I loved the sense of community among athletes. That is what lead me to a profession in fitness – I wanted to help create a sense of community and a space where people could feel comfortable moving and getting stronger. HG is all about community – what I love the most is the connection with our members and coaching them to be their best. Exercise discomfort is short term – I like to remind my classes to focus on the BIG picture. You never know what life is going to throw at you – you need to be strong and ready for anything. I appreciate that now more than ever!
How has this community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?
Well, I completed my ‘marathon without a number’ two days before the shelter-in-place order. I’m not sure how I would have gotten through the seven months of chemotherapy and radiation without the support of our amazing HG community. The number of meals, cards, care packages, texts, calls – just the tremendous outpouring of love, strength and support was more than I could have ever imagined.
During my treatment I went into the studio to take a class whenever I felt up to it. I remember the first time I went in after I lost my hair. I was terrified and wondered ‘how am I going to get through this?’ I was scared to walk into the class with no hair, I did not want to ‘look sick’ or weak. I hid somewhere near the back and did my best to do the entire class even with tears streaming down my face. After class, I was greeted with nothing but positivity – big smiles, hugs, and so much love that it gave me the courage to continue going out without a wig and gave me the confidence that I could get through it.
My community did not care how I looked, they were just happy to see me. And the sense of normalcy – exercising with everyone again helped me feel stronger to fight. My physical strength, my mindset, and my community powered me over the finish line to kick cancer’s butt! I am not sure I will ever be able to truly express my gratitude for what our community did for me and my family. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve gotten from another Mom?
My mom, MaryAnne who is a fierce warrior and would never let me fall, reminds me to take breaks. Breathe. Give yourself some grace, some forgiveness. When you feel like you’re going to lose it, regroup. Things may be difficult right now, but it’s temporary. Call someone when you need to. Remember your tribe and don’t be afraid to expand that tribe and let others in. (virtually, of course!)
What are your favorite places to travel near and far and why?
Lu and I took the most amazing trip to British Virgin Islands before we had kids. The water, the sailing, the sunsets, and food – just incredible! I look forward to going back some day.
Which podcasts and/or TED Talks inspire you the most?
I listen to David Romanelli’s podcast. I would listen to it a lot when I wasn’t feeling well during treatment. He also has a book, Happy is the new Healthy.
Tell me about your favorite book/s. I love receiving fiction and non-fiction recommendations!
I keep my reading light and funny these days. Right now, I’m reading I Just Want to Pee Alone by Jen Mann .
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I LOVE sweets! Candy, baked goods – love them! I mean hey, everyone needs a closer after dinner, right?! 😊
What is next for you?
I’m not really sure but I know I want to give back. I want to help others get through the unknown. And, I’m going to give lots and lots and lots of hugs as soon as we can!