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A Fitness Plan to Win the Fight

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A cardio party is taking fitness center floors by storm.
WERQ pronounced “work,” is a dance fitness class based on pop, rock and hip hop music.

While it helps participants get and stay active – fitness instructor Liz Adams decided WERQ could be used for another positive purpose.

WERQ Group Photo 1

“I saw a friend’s social media post, encouraging donations for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital,” said Adams. “So, I contacted her and said, ‘I would love to host a charity WERQ to help you fundraise!”

Shortly after, the dance fitness planning began– and things quickly fell into rhythm. “I was thrilled when Liz contacted me offering to help,” said fundraiser Tina Mote. “My goal is to raise $1,000 in time for the St. Jude Telethon on Saturday, July 30. My portion is just one piece of a larger team goal – and I couldn’t think of a better way to raise awareness and funds for this cause.”

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The charity WERQ, held at Four Seasons II Health Club in Bloomington, Illinois took place July 9th. For a $10 donation, community members gained access to the WERQ party, complete with inspirational music, balloons, raffle items and a whole lot of dancing.

“There was a ton of energy in the room, I loved every minute of it,” said Mote. “Watching so many come together to raise money in an effort to defeat childhood cancer was incredible.”

“As a mother, I’m glad I could do something to help,” added Adams. “Those who came, danced and donated – every bit goes back to helping children win this fight.”

Among the many people who united for the special event, there was one in particular, whose personal story resonated more than the music in the room.

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31-year-old Lizzy Selzer, is a cancer survivor. Diagnosed with a malignant large cell brain tumor at the age of 10, St. Jude soon became part of her life.

“The hospital worked with my doctors back here to develop a plan – before being sent to Boston for experimental radiation treatments,” Selzer explained. “After three months of treatments I returned home, but kept following up with St. Jude during each step of my journey. I remember how welcomed I felt every time I walked into that building. The nurses knew my name, kids everywhere laughing through treatments and playing, doctors explaining my progress to me – and not just my parents.”

Selzer says St. Jude left a lasting impact on her life. Today, she works for a non-profit organization, raising money for the Memphis based hospital and other health care organizations.

She’s also focused on her personal well-being too.

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“Over the last five months, I have started my own health and fitness journey,” Selzer explained. “I’m an active WERQ fitness participant, and the people I’ve met through these classes have become good friends.”

That’s why, this charity WERQ hosted by Adams, meant so much to Selzer – because she knows firsthand the good that comes when people unite through fancy footwork and a lot of heart.

“Seeing this great group come together to dance and raise money for this amazing organization made me so proud to be a part of both of these worlds. Seeing WERQ and St. Jude combine was truly wonderful and I am so grateful to everyone who came out to support the hospital.”

Reflections from a Finalist: Take the Risk

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Life is full of risks.  Sure, they’re scary.

But I believe if we don’t take risks, then we’re not growing personally. We’re not developing new skills or learning new lessons.

Taking risks can be rewarding.

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Examples include:

  1. Winning a contest
  2. Making friends
  3. Discovering your talent and potential

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Taking risks can be miserable.

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Examples include:

  1. Embarrassing yourself in some horrific and/or comical way
  2. A person (or group) might not appreciate what you did
  3. You don’t win a contest

As someone who’s taken second, third and last place in a variety of situations, I offer these words of inspiration:

So what?

Looking at the pros and the cons…it’s important to note, the benefits of a risk (let’s be clear, a good risk) outweigh any of the aforementioned worries.

Take it from me, I’ve experienced outcomes both rewarding and painful and am better for it. Taking risks requires courage, humility and perseverance. Each one of those qualities is strengthened the more you try.

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When you take a risk, and it doesn’t go the way you thought…don’t wallow in sadness for too long. If your risk doesn’t yield ultimate reward, then the road splits into two paths.

Path 1: You take that experience, use it to improve yourself and keep trying.

Path 2: Curl up and do nothing.

My advice? Take Path 1.

Road

I knew I was taking a risky path when I chose to compete in the Toastmasters International World Championship of Public Speaking. With more than 332,000 Toastmasters around the globe, this was no small feat.

The contest requires you to write your own speech. It must be seven minutes and inspirational. You have to win first place to advance to the next contest. Each time you advance, the competition gets tougher…the stakes get higher.

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But I love writing, public speaking, and competition – so I chose to take the risk. It was an incredible experience, and one I won’t forget. This entire process required loads of writing, memorization, and dedication to make a stellar product. And in August, I became one of top 10 best public speakers in the world.

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Did I win FIRST place?

No.

Did I give it my all?

YES.

Was I proud of what I did on the World Stage?

ABSOLUTELY.

Smile After the contest ended, someone asked: “How does it feel not to win?” I looked at them and said, “I don’t know. Because I did win.”

I could see their confusion. So I added, “anyone who chooses to take the risk, wins in some way. They get better… the outcome should inspire them to try again, or work harder. I admire every person who chose to compete in this contest, because their message made a positive impact on someone who was listening and in the end, that’s the real award.”

Taking risks is wonderfully exhilarating. And for some crazy reason, the more you try…the easier it gets.

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SHADOW

Tall Girl Appreciation Day – Views from “The Top”

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In honor of #TallGirlAppreciationDay (January 4, 2016)…

I was a shy kid.  Never spoke much in school.  But by sixth grade, I had a major growth spurt.  With each inch I grew, my confidence began to shine more and more. I eventually broke out of my shell.  Sure, I was taller than practically everyone in my class…but made the decision to hold my head high, (and take short dates to school dances).

After all, there isn’t much a tall girl can do to change it.

Through the years, I’ve noticed being tall comes with unique circumstances.  So, I’ve compiled them here to provide insight and perspective for anyone wondering what it’s like to step into these size 11 shoes.

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Being tall means having ADVANTAGES:

  • The best view at a parade
  • Fresh air in a crowded room.
  • Items are in reach…even on the top shelf.
  • You’re easily found.
  • Inherent punctuality (your long stride gets you places on time).

Being tall means being ADAPTABLE:

  • Rocking long sleeve shirts as quarter length instead.
  • Sporting pants as capris.
  • Straining to hear conversations taking place at or below your shoulders in a crowded room.

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Being tall means staying STRONG:

  • Smiling with confidence when somebody stares.
  • Having a witty response when you’re asked if you play basketball for the millionth time…and another witty response when people are disappointed you don’t play.
  • Standing up straight despite being a foot taller than guys and girls.
  • Holding your head high when you’re sent to the back of a group picture.

Being tall means ignoring the OBVIOUS:

  • “Gosh you’re SO tall!”…you think?
  • “You make me feel short.”   Mind blown.
  • “You’re BIG!” If big means big hearted, then yes…I’m big.

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Being tall means THIS:

  • Grace
  • Power
  • Visibility
  • Beauty

To my fellow long-legged friends, I applaud you for being YOU.  And, to everyone–own your differences, because the world would be pretty boring if we were all the same.  Enjoy everything you are.  Inside and Out.

#TallGirlAppreciationDay

#January 4

#StandProud