Recipient

Sarah J.

Maryland, United States

Fit Like A CK (cancer kids) Mother

I have been a Pilates based instructor for 10 years, primarily training virtual clients these past 5 years. During this time, 4 friends from different parts of my life found themselves facing their child's cancer diagnosis. The physical and mental toll it took on my friends was heartbreaking. While out for a run one day an idea came to me: I could gift fitness and wellness to my friends wherever they were to help them take care of themselves during this time. Fit Like A CK Mother was born, CK standing for Cancer Kid, a shorthand used by cancer moms. What I thought would just be for my friends and their support groups (about 30-35 moms) grew rapidly solely by word of mouth. As the first and only provider of virtual and on-demand wellness programming for moms of cancer kids, at just over a year old Fit Like A CK Mother is now comprised of almost 900 moms in 9 countries. Most moms have gained 30-50 pounds since their child's diagnosis and suffer from PTSD, anxiety and depression. When you have a child with cancer, there is no time for fitness. If there is a break from care, there are other children, work, house responsibilities and, always, the guilt that interferes. My moms are in and out of hospital stay, sometimes training besides their child's bed and using a towel for a mat. The stories of weight loss, toning and looking better were to be expected. I did not anticipate the greater impact on emotional and mental well being that has stemmed from our fitness community. As one mom shared, “Immediately following my first workout in the group, I broke down in tears. It was exactly what I had been needing and wanting. I didn't realize how much I needed it." Part of what I believe my work is about is finding ways to support and sustain the wellness of my moms wherever they are and whenever they need it most beyond what I offer in classes within our virtual community.  A Peloton bike on a pediatric hospital floor or at family hospital housing would impact these moms incredibly on a physical and emotional level.  If I was to receive a Peloton, I would gift it on behalf of Fit Like A CK Mother to The Believe In Tomorrow Children's House at John Hopkins, an amazing hospital housing place near John Hopkins that accommodates up to 15 families at once.  Beilieve In Tomorrow and I have spoken about how it would help to introduce to these moms the importance of self care and filling their cup up.  It would also mean so much to the whole Fit Like A CK Mother community to be recognized and support by Peloton and would have a beautiful ripple effect.

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