As May marks Mental Health Month, I’m proud to be a speaker at the Administrator’s Forum at the Florida Council for Community Mental Health. On May 18, I’ll be presenting Social Media Recruiting and Building Culture in Orlando. I have a tremendous respect for the mental health industry and truly humbled to be a presenting at the conference. There have been valuable conversations on mental health and I have taken great pride in creating this presentation.
Yoga Fun for Children
Come stretch, bend and have fun! Put on your comfy clothes and join me at the 2017 Yoga Expo, Yoga Fun for Children on Saturday, April 8, 2017, at the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center at 2:25 p.m.
I have been teaching dance for over 20 years and since becoming a Certified Yoga Instructor this year, I want to celebrate by teaching kids. My goal is to make it fun and help children learn the beginning steps of yoga.
From Cancer Survivor to Triathlete, Joel Alsup Does It All
This past year I had the great honor of visiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Our tour guide was Joel Alsup and he knew every in and out of the hospital. During the tour, he begins to tell his story of being a St. Jude cancer survivor. Not only was he knowledgeable, but as he shared facts about St. Jude, his face lit up with an energy that was contagious.
Twenty-nine years ago this month, he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, which is a type of cancer that starts in the bones.
“I was 7 years old when my parents noticed that I stopped using my right hand. We went to my pediatrician and noticed the tumor on my arm. The tumor was strong enough to break a bone in my arm. Two days after Christmas, we traveled to St. Jude for help, “ says Joel.
Joel’s parents were uncertain if their health insurance would be sufficient to cover the year-long treatment. “I remember my Dad approaching the front gate at St. Jude and asking for hotel recommendations. We come to find out that all our expenses would be paid: room, board, meals, and treatment! ‘Focus on your son they said.”
Chemotherapy started right away, but eventually Joel would receive distressing news. His arm would have to be amputated. He was put in touch with another patient who was also receiving treatment. Joel felt at ease knowing that someone else was fighting the same disease as he was, and his innate ability to power- thru helped him complete his journey. Joel remembers, “If John could do it, then I can too! At the time, I was more upset that my favorite Cubs t-shirt was cut to place my IV!”
Joel was lucky that the tumor didn’t spread. Osteosarcoma is the most common type of bone cancer in children and teens. If the disease is localized (has not spread to other areas of the body), the long-term survival rate is 70 to 75%. If osteosarcoma has already spread to the lungs or other bones at diagnosis, the long-term survival rate is about 30%.
Astonishingly, Joel wouldn’t change any part of his experience. “Losing my arm was a small price to pay. Sometimes, I feel guilty that I made it. In the past year, I’ve lost 3 friends. I go to bed knowing that they would want me to keep going and helping others. I have nothing but deep gratitude for St. Jude. As years go by, I witness St. Jude saving more kids.”
Not only is Joel a former St. Jude cancer survivor, Joel has worked for St. Jude for 14 years. With a degree in Media Production, Joel is a producer and now works with other families to tell their story.
“I enjoy filming the many beautiful stories that come from St. Jude. It’s amazing every time,” says Joel. See below to watch St. Jude’s end of year video produced by Joel.
Joel is not just a survivor, he has chosen to live life to the fullest. He has completed his 11th triathlon. In April 2016, he completed one in 7 hours! With the love of the outdoors and life, he plans to continue to be a part of them and spreading St. Jude’s message.
“Life is beautiful. I look back at 29 years of life and being the best man in my brother’s wedding, being at my sister’s wedding, and vacationing with my family. St. Jude means everything to me. And what they’ve accomplished is beyond what I thought it would be. St. Jude is graduation. It’s a wedding. They’re part of my family.”
To support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, please click here.
“Sometimes you have to look back to see how far you’ve come.”
Although I haven’t been blogging for a while…don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere. There have been major transitions in my life. With the career, fitness, and everything else ever-changing, I still get excited about Little Giant Life. I’m still writing for We All Grow Latina Blogger Network and I’ve become more active via Instagram.
Blogging is a business and it always keeps me on my toes. The face of blogging has changed and has become a multi-functional way of keeping up with trends and making money. It’s not about writing the 500-word article. It’s all about content! Currently, I’m brainstorming how to be more effective to you without burning myself out.
The major update in my life is the journey to becoming a yoga instructor. My friend Amanda Smith took some incredible pictures of this next adventure. The day was inspiring and emotional. She is amazing! Please read the story here.
After a two-year break from teaching any type of class, I’m back to teaching a yoga class at Athleta this Sunday! I don’t know where else I’ll be teaching next, but I’ll be sure to keep you informed.
Thanks for always being there and know that I do what I can to inspire you. Here’s hoping your Holidays are filled with peace and love.
Thrive. Move. Be happy!